My Lean Manufacturing Story – Michelle Brown

Today we have an interview with Michelle Brown. Michelle has been with TXM for over 10 years and is one of our most experienced consultants. Learn a little more about Michelle.

lean thinker and improvement facilitator

1) Where did you receive your core lean training?
My main Lean training was with Boeing, both in Australia and Seattle. While Boeing has an internal training process and levels, we were under the watchful eyes of the Shingijutsu consultants, who reinforced the Toyota Way to us in everything we did.

2) Briefly describe your greatest Lean manufacturing moment or result
One of my favourite moments was when the owner of a small manufacturing company acknowledged that the morning, 10 minute standup meeting was actually saving them time and reducing interruptions during the day, after he had complained about introducing them to begin with.

3) Tell us about your favourite lean manufacturing tool
The daily Visual Management Board that supports the start of shift meetings; I love how they begin to tell a story about how each cell is going:

  • How are our people going? Is everyone here? Are we working safely?
  • How is our quality?
  • Did we have a good day yesterday? What were our targets? Did we meet them?
  • What do we need to do today? What are our targets? Do we have everything we need to achieve them?

4) From your experience describe the common challenges faced by manufacturing companies when implementing lean manufacturing systems
The biggest challenge is DOING what we know we need to do; like eating healthily or saving money, we know what we need to do but there are always excuses. I so often hear “we didn’t have time” that I could scream. What that is telling me is that you didn’t think it was important enough to MAKE time to solve problems and implement our agreed actions.

5) How do you see lean assisting in the future of Australia Manufacturing?
There is still so much waste and opportunity in our manufacturing companies and Lean offers us the tools and philosophy to tackle them head on. We have amazing companies that are competing on the world stage; just think of how magnificent they could be with a little soul searching and involving EVERYONE in problem solving.

Robert Chittenden

Author: Robert Chittenden

Robert Chittenden is a Senior Lean Consultant at TXM Lean Solutions