Why You Need Lean Communication To Make Your Lean System Work
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The Lean Management system is comprehensive set of tools, principles, and methodologies that when applied properly can produce significant improvement in productivity and profitability in your company. Lean reduces and ultimately eliminates waste while maintaining and even improving quality. It results in:

  • A workplace that is cleaner and more orderly
  • Production systems that are simple and effective
  • Improved flow of materials through the system
  • Less errors and fewer end product rejects
  • A faster turnaround time between runs
  • An enhanced production system overall

But if you remember your Lean Fundamentals course, these benefits are not automatic and can be lost If not reinforced on a regular basis.

Lean Communication:

Uttana has a video lean communication course that goes into detail regarding the various ways that communications is accomplished in a Lean environment. Communication is always important, but for a Lean organization, it means the difference between an efficient, constantly improving Lean implementation and less effective organization that continues to lose ground as time goes by.

Notices, Signs, and Posters: Lean methodologies make use of large scale communications devices designed to capture the attention of workers in the area where they are placed. These include:

Notice Boards: Large, easy to read kiosks and hanging boards that are used to lean communication information to a large audience. These boards can be general purpose, indicating information applicable to the operation as a whole, or more specific, dealing with a single workstation, production line or supply area. These notices are changed often so that every worker is in possession of the latest information required for the job at hand.

Signs: Signs, are used liberally in a Lean environment to alert workers of areas of importance or concern, and are often color coded to indicate their general purpose. These signs are used when word of mouth is not enough and can:

  • Help workers find tools, equipment or supplies quickly and easily
  • Warn workers about hazards in their work area
  • Alert workers to a temporary condition such as the relocation of a machine or a special process.

Posters: Colorful posters are available from Uttana that can:

  • Re-inforce Lean principles and values
  • Remind workers of basic Lean techniques
  • Motivate the workforce

Color Coded Markers: The Lean systems make liberal use of color coded materials to help workers quickly identify items required for their jobs. Among the more common examples are:

  • Transparencies: Clear plastic films in various colors used to highlight signs, instructions, equipment, controls and access points.

  • Plastic tool forms and backgrounds: Used to create customized tool trays or to locate a tool on a hanging board.

Tags and Tracking Forms

In order to work effectively, communications must flow in every direction. Lean Fundamentals methodologies uses a variety of simple tags and forms to make sure that information moves through the ranks quickly and effectively. These include:

Tags: Simple color coded tags that can be filled out and attached to a piece of equipment, a bin, a door, or wherever there is a problem or an opportunity. These include:

  • Red tags: used to highlight problems with a system or a piece of equipment, or to make a suggestion for improvement.
  • Blue tags: used to indicate a need for maintenance, or to alert production of maintenance scheduled in the near future.
  • ISO Tags: Versions of red and blue tags designed to interface with current ISO requirements.

Tracking Forms: In order to insure that the issues and opportunities noted on the tags are given due consideration, each must be recorded on a simple series of tracking forms that will be reviewed regularly to insure that the information is handled properly.

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