It is very obvious that the success of Toyota and other world class manufacturing organizations is based on creating a continuous improvement culture. One key element to achieve this culture is proper training and lean manufacturing education. The mistake most organizations make is rolling out training at the management level, hoping to instantly create Lean Culture. In the eyes of the factory floor workers, it is just another system imposed on them. Lean Manufacturing Education and Training needs to be conducted at every level of the company.
One of the fundamental pillars of Lean Manufacturing Education is very simple: continuous improvement, getting to the root of the problem, and respect for line workers. This system taps into the knowledge and insights of the team members. The team members receive continuous training and are given responsibility. This respect for the worker is key to gaining their involvement in continuous improvement.
One recent company example completed a training project. The organization decided to invest in 5S training at the line level. The company is located in Southern California and has a predominately Hispanic workforce. A decision was made to conduct the training entirely in Spanish, including all training material. Training was conducted in groups, with each group representing a different product line. Each week a different group of line workers were involved in classroom and hands on factory floor training. The workers viewed the training as a sign of respect, and word soon spread throughout the plant. As training progressed the excitement built and the results were amazing. As the Lean Manufacturing Education commenced for the last group it was noticed numerous improvements had already been implemented on that product line. The excitement is now spreading into all areas of the organization as everyone looks for ways to improve his or her workplace.
This is just one example of a trend that is seen in many organizations. In the eyes of everyone involved, the company is making an investment in him or her through Lean Manufacturing Education. The results the company realizes are higher quality, increased production, and better employee morale. The walls between management and the worker are torn down, and continuous improvement becomes a way of life.
When a company begins a Lean Manufacturing Education program, the key to success is to get everyone within the organization involved. Develop a company wide training and deployment plan that will build excitement and create a continuous improvement culture.
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