Lean Production System, Essay Sample for Your Academic Purposes

Published: 2022-03-11
Lean Production System, Essay Sample for Your Academic Purposes
Type of paper:  Report
Categories:  Management
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1721 words
15 min read

Lean production system is a management approach that aims at cutting out waste while ensuring production of quality products and services. The process applies to all aspects of the business from design through manufacturing to distribution. Organizations use the systems to cut cost by making their operations more efficient and responsive to market needs. The approach eliminates or minimizes activities that do not add value to the production process such as holding unnecessary inventories, repair faulty products and excessive movement of products and people around the business (Ingram, 2017). Lean production philosophy originated from Toyota Motor Corporation and at times has been referred to as Just-in-Time (JIT) system or Toyota Production System (TPS). Today, the system is arguably one of the essential inventions since Henry Ford's Model, which outlined various techniques for mass production (Staats, Brunner & Upton, 2011). Due to significant benefits of lean production principles such as reduced drudgery, increased creativity, fast response time and higher job satisfaction, different organizations numerous companies have adopted the technique in their operations. Wipro Technologies in India is among organizations which have successfully implemented lean production system despite specializing in knowledge work.

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Best Practices in Lean Management Systems

For years, businesses have tried to consistently organize their projects based on the platform laid by Toyota Production System. Lean is more than just reducing operation cost in business. The process also involves reducing time to market, reducing risk exposure, improving service quality, offering substantial employee's working conditions and most of all obtaining all these benefits among others simultaneously. As a result, lean has been a goal of most companies primarily in the contemporary society where firms face stiff competitions from regional to international competitors (Mostafa, Dumrak & Soltan, 2013). Therefore, leading organizations have successfully introduced some concepts and solutions from lean manufacturing into service industries. The logistics, healthcare, financial, administration, warehousing and engineering among other sectors have continuously benefited from lean principles.

However, to become lean, companies have to make a hard look at their practices and processes to pinpoint the set-ups that add value for their customers and eliminate those that do not achieve their objectives. Reducing waste has been a priority, in the enterprise resource planning (EPR), which is the central nervous system of organizations (Ingram, 2017). EPR systems carry out the definitions, data, inventories, and records of the activities in an organization. By integrating the lean management with EPR systems, firms have managed to measure and determine opportunities for improvement and also determine their effort progress. The integration has eliminated waste by reducing additional activities, inventories, and disputes among other areas a leading to loss of resources. Additionally, most ERP systems can model and test alternative means that helps to focus limited resources on the highest payback activity. As a result, the leading firms provide a mechanism for implementing new and more efficient procedures likely to yield high returns, compete favorably in the market and attain customer satisfaction.

Lean is not a one-time development, nor is it entirely accomplished as different techniques keep emerging to address existing gaps and promote innovation and creativity. Continuous improvement is, therefore, a practice within lean manufacturing and is often known as a rapid improvement. Different industrial sectors use lean principles to promote efficient workflows deployed in production and service provider environments. The rapid improvement cycle starts with planning where an opportunity for change is identified within a system. The plan is then executed in small scale, and after verification, checking commences to analyze whether the strategy brought about was successful. Whenever the change is affirmed to be satisfactory, then the plan is implemented on a broader scale under continuous assessment (Staats, Brunner & Upton, 2011). In Wipro Technologies the management identified a gap in the production of custom software in large scale. In fact, even the leading consultancies lacked relevant experience in their area of interest. The managerial department, therefore, had a consensus there was a need for change. In their investigation they discovered that making an operation lean bring about a significant impact on standard quality, time and cost. Therefore, within lean management systems, there is always improvement to attain, more efficiencies to discover and refinement to a procedure or process as a way of eliminating waste and improving return.

Lean management systems have also enhanced customer services and sales. In today's economy, customer service has been an area of focus for businesses. In fact, most enterprise systems are now giving attention to customer relationship management (CRM) as an internal operation. For example, companies have been simplifying the order management processes by aggregating data across the business availing it to the customer service agents. Also, customers can easily access some of this data mainly on integrated pricing, order validation, credit checking and handling processes which saves time and effort on the part of accounting personnel, warehousing agents, and service agents. Dealing with waste in the customer service processes also eliminates delays, conflicts, inconvenience, and cost for businesses as well as their customers.

A company is a combination of several people working together. Teamwork is an essential element to nurture within lean implementation to ensure that groups within an organization work efficiently. In lean management, every stakeholder should take part in eliminating waste and drive innovation. However, engaging employees in a meaningful collaboration does not happen on its own but requires leadership and coaching. Consequently, the lean management system is among the productive strategies used by companies to solidify the relationship between leaders and team members. Cohesiveness in a team, accountability and adequate visual control provides a structured process for testing and adjusting the improvement cycle.

Implementation Barriers to Lean Management Systems

However, despite lean management techniques gaining popularity in numerous economic sectors many companies are still struggling to achieve a successful and lasting lean implementation. Lack of top management commitment and support mainly due to fear of failing has resulted to drawbacks in the TPS philosophy. Some of the reasons managers might decline to changes include lack of experience and training and hesitation to initiate improvement programs (Jadhav, Mantha & Rane, 2014). Similar to Wipro Technologies the management must remain committed to making the difference in a highly visible version for other employees to follow their footsteps. Likewise, the control board should not feel content with their previous achievements but should strive to upgrade with the changing society.

The absence of comprehensive actions and planning systems have also lead to failure in TPS execution. Lean management systems demand accurate and on-time availability of necessary resources. The planning structures should ensure there are limited marginal errors as planners should be familiar with essential information such as changeover times and patterns. Also, lack of an adequate medium for information sharing or communication leads to the collapse of the lean strategies. For example, lack of real-time information exchange between upstream suppliers and downstream customers would have catastrophic effects on production and service delivery.

Employee resistance is also another factor affecting TPS negatively. In most cases, employees might lack enthusiasm and fail to support lean strategies due to fear of uncertainty. In fact, some may fear that improvement initiatives might result in unemployment (Jadhav, Mantha & Rane, 2014). As a result, the hazard to profession safety is among factors obstructing the development of quality programs. For example, Toyota Company had to invest in a new technique of production despite the uncertainties but under cross supervision.

Tacit Versus Explicit Knowledge Concepts

Tacit and explicit are some of the most fundamental concepts of knowledge management. Tacit is the know-how and learning embedded in human mind through experience and jobs. It forms personal wisdom, experience, and context-specific which is more difficult to extract and codify. On the other hand, explicit knowledge refers to collated and digitized information in documents, books, memos, reports, and articles. Explicit concepts are easily articulated and shared among related individuals. Despite production industries successfully embraced lean approach the same has not been achieved in knowledge work. The business world believes that knowledge work does not lean itself as it is not repetitive and cannot be unambiguously defined. However, in most cases, work involves expertise and judgment that would profoundly depend on tacit knowledge than explicit impressions making it a significant development area in lean knowledge management. For instance, taking into consideration a bank officer faced by a situation where he or she has to decide on issuing a loan to a client and a social worker examining the safety of an environment, the two scenarios would depend on tacit knowledge.

Providentially, the information technology, engineering, financial and legal service sectors seem to benefit from the principles of TPS. A substantial amount of tacit knowledge would be articulated and captured in writing whenever an organization makes an effort to pull it out of people's heads. Therefore, tacit knowledge is of high value and documentation as well as automation of this information is essential in improving business performance. In fact, change taking place in an organization should be expressed explicitly to enhance productivity. For example, visions and missions are forms of tacit concepts defined in projects and implementation plans. For explicit ideas it more comfortable to implement unlike when in unwritten form.

However, some challenges may arise when capturing, sharing and converting tacit knowledge into the explicit concept. For instance, every worker understands different concepts differently. As a result, it is difficult to obtain every part of the tacit knowledge for recording, and therefore some vital information may be omitted in the process. Similarly, effective communication is a crucial tool in implementing changes in an organization. The question of who is communicating with who is not taken into account when giving tacit knowledge. Information is useful when delivered to the right person through the right channel. Significant facts might not be recorded owing to informal communication among workers. Therefore, in some instances, documentation of tacit knowledge might fail to happen entirely due to limited communication taking place among different levels of employment.

Cultural Influence on Lean Knowledge Work

Lean processes consist of both principles and tools and not just a toolbox to put to use. Initially, it was challenging for lean knowledge work to create alignment and cohesion where individuals would continuously learn together to add value to the customers. Nevertheless, the implementation of lean concept might vary across different business settings due to conceptual differences. For instance, knowledge work not only have a framework dis...

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