How to start using Lean manufacturing methods?

Offen when I’m out visiting factories I see many areas needing improvement and most of these can be greatly improved by applying simple lean methods to lift the productivity of a production process. While discussing these possible options a common question usually asked “We know we need to improve however we just don’t know how to start using lean methods?

My reply is simple “Do you have 3 basic step in place?”

1 – Do you have the support of leadership team. Are your leaders willing to drive, help and follow up on lean improvements.

2 – Do you have Standard Work in place?  Without a standard work improvements are very hard to measure. Maybe starting practical 5S is an excellent way to get Standard Work in place.

3 – Lastly, do you understand your processes and where the opportunities are, based on a customer value perspective?  Developing Current and Future state value stream maps can quickly define how a more efficient operations will look like, and help prioritise the starting point.