What is a Lean Process?

A lean process refers to anything in an operation that can be improved or made more efficient.  We have all heard recently that the slow economy is causing companies to do more with less.  Employees are being laid off and you may be doing the work that once was assigned to a coworker who is no longer there.  While this layoff is very unfortunate for the employee who no longer works at your company, it is helpful to you and to the company in terms of getting things done at a lower cost.  In other words, the company may ask you to work an extra ten hours per week and with your excellent productivity, you may be able to do all or at least most of what you were originally doing, plus the laid off employee’s work.  This saves the company money in terms of hourly wages and the cost of benefits for employees who may not be needed any longer.

Another example would be a clothing manufacturer.  Industrial sewing machines have replaced many employees because the machines can do the job much faster than several employees sewing by hand.  The cost for the sewing machines is offset by the many years that they last and the number of employees replaced.  Lean processes are great for the bottom line of a company and they force us to continually evaluate our efficiency and value to employers.  By keeping our skills sharp and remaining productive, we can assure ourselves stable employment.

About the author:

Gregg is the Department Chair for Supply Chain Management.  He spent more than 20 years in the stainless steel industry, starting as an hourly employee and moving into quality control, sales, marketing, and regional operations management.  Gregg has an MBA from Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, KY.  He lives in the Indiana countryside, not far from Cincinnati, with his wife and two wiener dogs.  He enjoys playing golf and going to baseball games in his spare time.

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