Lean Enterprise Organization

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Lean production / Lean manufacturing is an effective management concept, the essence of which is to optimize business processes by maximally focusing on the interests and needs of the client (market) and taking into account the motivation of each employee. The implementation of the lean manufacturing methodology ideally allows solving a number of basic problems that most enterprises face daily and hourly: to achieve high quality at minimal cost, reduce production time, avoid overproduction, and resolve the issue of supply.

The authors of the book on lean manufacturing, Womack and Jones, outlined the essence of the approach in the form of five areas of activity: determining the value of a particular product; determining the value flow for this product; ensuring the continuous flow of the product value creation stream; “pulling” the product by the consumer (the level of production is determined by the needs of the customer); Kaizen (continuous improvement) (Morizio 48-49).

The concept is based on the evaluation of the final product value for the consumer. Therefore, all processes occurring in the enterprise are considered from the point of view of creating additional value. The goal is to minimize manufacturing processes and operations that do not add value to the product, in order to eliminate losses (Wilson 26-31). Thus, determining the value of a particular product, determining the value flow for this product, as well as ensuring the continuous flow of the product value stream, can be called key elements of the Lean concept and philosophy.

Lean manufacturing principles are also applicable to the realities of Comodo IT-company. Their implementation does not require large-scale costs, but it gives a significant effect. In the IT company in question, one can formulate 5S principles according to the Lean production concept in relation to the realities of office functioning, and then proceed with putting things in order. It implies analysis and then changing the organization of workplaces, placement of documents and tools, taking into account the frequency of their use (those that are used more often should be closer to an employee), organization of racks where documents, materials, and equipment are stored.

After implementation of these measures, a lot of surpluses can be revealed and the company can get rid of unnecessary materials and components. As the result, it will be possible to reduce the amount of working capital necessary for the work of IT specialists.

The next step should be the analysis of IT processes and the search for opportunities to eliminate losses ‑ to reduce the execution time of processes or their resource consumption. The company has implemented process management according to the ITIL/ITSM methodology. Elements of a lean technique are quite successfully adjacent to it; in particular, the implementation of 5S principles is now a standard process in the IT service.

The principles of Lean are quite universal. On the one hand, the differences in the activities of, for example, IT specialists and specialists in the repair of production equipment are quite large, but on the other hand, there are many similar aspects in their activities. Standardization, one of the elements of the 5S system, helps to significantly reduce IT costs, in particular the maintenance of IT infrastructure and applications.

The use of expensive, but reliable equipment from leading manufacturers helps the IT department not only reduce the cost of training specialists, integrate IT components and repair them but also reduce the downtime of IT infrastructure caused by breakdowns and malfunctions. Thus, losses caused by defective IT services are reduced ‑ this is one of the types of losses that are listed in the Lean manufacturing concept. For example, it is possible to choose Cisco products for telecommunication infrastructure deployment as standard, HP for workstations, and IBM for servers. Below, we compare other operational excellence approaches with the Lean approach.

Table 1. Comparison of Lean approach with other operational excellence approaches.

Six Sigma TQM Theory of Constraints ISO
Compared to Lean Focus on improvement Standardization Systematic method Improving product quality with an emphasis on reducing production costs by reducing internal losses, especially in the processes of the product life cycle
Contrasted to Lean Unit Flow vs DMAIC Cycle Mass implementation of ISO of various versions vs Focus on specific aspects of the process Theory of Constraints focuses on identifying and eliminating constraints that limit throughput. Thus, successful application tends to increase production capacity. Lean manufacturing is focused on eliminating losses in the manufacturing process. Thus, successful use leads to lower production costs. ISO 9000 standards contain specific, mandatory, and verifiable requirements. The Lean Production concept is, first and foremost, a philosophy that incorporates principles often interpreted in their own way by different founders and prominent representatives of this concept.

The company Comodo does not present its vision statement on its website. However, the following vision formulation can be suggested for this company based on the Lean Production concept: “Optimization of data processing and digital transaction in the best way for people to communicate, governments to manage, businesses to operate and society to function.”

The experience of implementing lean technologies, primarily in Japan, as well as in the USA and Western Europe, suggests that one first needs to understand and accept the philosophy of this system, and only then choose the right tools that will work most effectively in this particular enterprise (Nithia 59). An important place in the implementation of Lean manufacturing is given to leadership.

If a manager is recognized as the leader in the enterprise, but acting as an administrator, carrying out the function of controller and distributing tasks to employees, the staff does not seek to take the initiative or show their positive qualities, to be like this leader, because such a leader just follows a clear plan, does not know how to lead, does not inspire by his or her example. He/she does not have an innovative vision, but only supports the direction chosen by management and does not listen to the opinion of employees.

When introducing Lean production, managers need to understand that, in addition to implementing tools (methods) and following the principles of the concept, it is important to switch to a new level of elements such as structure, culture, motivation, training, and leadership, because for an enterprise that wants to win in the competition, it is necessary to adapt to changes occurring in the external and internal environment. Therefore, these elements cannot remain the same during the transition to Lean production.

The problem may be related to the fact that, as practice shows, up to 80% of employees are generally against any changes, and Lean manufacturing is no exception (Nithia 72). However, dividing the problems by elements allows determining the direction of the efforts of top management and middle managers and developing specific measures in order to reduce, and in the future, completely eliminate resistance to ongoing changes.

Works Cited

Morizio, Dominick. How to Drive Operational Excellence: An Integrated and Practical Approach. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016.

Nithia, Azlan. Achieve Manufacturing Excellence Lean and Smart Manufacturing: Requirement for the Successful Implementation of the Factory of the Future. Partridge Publishing Singapore, 2019.

Wilson, Lonnie. How to Implement Lean Manufacturing. McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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