In the mid-20th century, Toyota pioneered a new approach to manufacturing along with a specific production strategy that would forever change the way businesses think about their products, their employees, and their customers. The fundamental principles of lean production work together to create a mindset and a practical way to manufacture products where the steady elimination of waste reveals more of the product’s value and enriches the customer experience. For organizations to be successful they must figure out a way to increase production while lowering costs and keeping employees safe from a myriad of workplace hazards. Whether you work in a plant, factory, or office environment employing lean principles must be done with a commitment toward safety.Lean and Safety
Keeping workers safe while streamlining manufacturing processes to increase production is sometimes challenging. Incorporating safety measures into lean processes helps reduce the types of incidents that can disrupt productivity and threaten a company’s bottom line.
Many companies are dedicating human and financial resources toward incorporating lean safety practices as it is a “systematic approach to identifying and controlling the waste in processes/activities which could cause accidents or illnesses” (Huey, n.d., p, 3).
- Keeping floor spaces clutter free reducing tripping hazards
- Redesigning workspaces to support ergonomics and eliminate unnecessary movements like reaching and bending
- Integrating safety inspections during waste walks and production audits
- Eliminating extra inventory to reduce spills or accidents and maximize empty space
- Standardizing procedures to eliminate waste and maximize safety
The goal of Lean is continuous improvement, which means creating value in the products and services used by customers by eliminating waste and removing potential defects. The Lean philosophy places high importance on completing the finished product at the lowest cost possible. After graduating from Kettering University Online with a degree in Lean Manufacturing, you will be in a unique position to support your organization’s leadership by:
- Applying process analysis, methods improvement, and work measurement
- Sharing techniques to maximize production efficiency and maintain control over each step in the process
- Incorporating protocols that meet Lean principles but at the same time do not increase accident and illness risks for employees
- Providing training to employees that can include ways to reduce workplace hazards
Regardless of where you work, understanding how to apply lean theory to the day-to-day activities of your organization makes you a valuable asset. Knowledge gained from a degree in Lean Manufacturing from Kettering University Online can help improve safety practices and the company's bottom line.Sources:
Huey, E. (n.d.). Lean safety. Retrieved from http://www.dioshday.com/2012/Exhibitors/6A%20Huey%20Lean%20Safety.pdf