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Lean Manufacturing

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Question I

Six sigma is a management concept that aims to reduce defects in an organization by using statistical representation of only 3.4 defects per million goods produced. Lean concept helps in removing non-value adding steps in a particular production process. Six sigma and lean can be applied in military in several ways in order to improve productivity and efficiency of the military. Commanders and all the staff can be asked to identify any processes that gave them problems during training and operations and suggest of ways of improving these processes. Furthermore, six sigma and lean can be used during the planning, programming and budgeting all the processes of the military. Military forces mostly concentrate on its combat operations and forget that it needs to run its business operations. Six sigma and lean helps in ensuring that all the business processes are done efficiently considering high quality control standards. This helps in minimizing wastes in all the operations of the military.

The military has also noticed that it spends many funds while purchasing advanced weapon system. This is because it has to apply the latest military techniques in order to spy on its enemy’s territories and win all the wars that it is fighting. Six sigma and lean apply the theory of constraints in minimizing costs of production. This helps the military reduce their overall costs of acquisition of these military equipments. In addition to this, this concept can help the military to make decision that are based on facts and this will help in improving the quality of their decision-making. This will help in ensuring that all the processes in subsequent military ranks are improved thus improving the total performance of the military.

Question Two

Lean enterprise is a group of individuals organizations or functions that operate as one entity. The main aim of lean enterprise is to minimize wastages in an enterprise by applying continuous improvements in all the departments and employees in an organization. Organizations that practice lean enterprise always focus on maximizing the value of their customers. In addition to this, these organizations have clear understanding of their purpose and goals and this helps in minimizing any form of conflict between different departments and organizations.

Question Three

Non-value added wastes fall into two categories. These categories include business requirements and pure wastes. Examples of non-value added wastes include inventory waste, waste of movement, waste of overproduction, waste of over processing and waste of defects. Waste of inventory includes having a large stock of work in progress and unfinished goods increasing the inventory costs.  Waste of movement refers to any movement in the production plant that does not add value to the overall production process. Waste of overproduction refers to an organization producing more goods that customers need. Waste of over processing refers to a redundant production processes that add features to a product, which customers do not want. Waste of defects refers to efforts of reworking or repairing a product for it to satisfy users’ requirements.

Organizations can eliminate non-value wastes in several ways. Managers should consider drawing a map of the process flows in the organization in order to identify and eliminate non-value adding activities. The production managers should also consider identifying activities that require high work in progress and try minimizing the work in progress requirement to eliminate inventory wastes. The management of organizations should also consider applying total quality management in order to eliminate defects in production.

Question Four

The five practices of personal lean include always working for the customer in order to satisfy his overall needs. Another practice is problem solving at relationship level since this will prevent the worsening of the problem. The third practice is personal learning through planning, doing, checking and acting since this fosters strong understanding. The fourth practice is a person mastering what he can control since this is his strength while the last practice is a person seeing more with his own eyes. These practices can be applied in military to improve training skills of the military since it will encourage the soldiers to focus on their strengths. It may also be used in solving problems in the military since commanders will be concentrating on solving base problems in the base before taking them to the higher officials thus improving teamwork. Daily work activities within the military will thus improve.

Question Five

Companies that implement lean principles benefit in several ways. Employees’ morale increase since lean process enables the identification of process problems and solving these problems. Mapping of process flows enables timely identification of any problem in the production process and this facilities continuous production without stoppages. Due to this, employees are engaged in the production process continuously and this improves their overall morale. Furthermore, this principle encourages employees’ innovations on how to improve production processes thus boosting their morale. Lean principles help in ensuring flexibility in manufacturing is achieved. Lean principles help in ensuring that organizations maintain minimum inventory levels. Due to this, the lead-time is reduced and thus an organization is given the competitive advantage of reacting to different customer needs. Lean principles also help in improving the level of consumer satisfaction. These principles minimize the number of defective goods that are produced from production processes. Lean principles emphasize on total quality management and thus consumers receive goods that are of good quality and contain minimum defects. This helps in improving their overall satisfaction. Lean principles also help in improving stock turns. This is achieved by reducing the work in progress and unfinished goods therefore reducing the amount of capital tied up in inventory.

Question Six

Change agents need several skills in order to implement lean principles. They need to posses the skills of influencing employees without power or coercion. It will help the employees accept the change to lean principles without resisting. In addition to this, they need the skills for increasing motivation of the employees. The motivation of some employees reduces after the introduction of lean principles their power and control may reduce after a particular process they were controlling initially is removed.  Change agents also need to posses the skill of responding to resistance productively. Employees may resist the introduction of lean principles since their organizational culture may not welcome this change. It is the responsibility of the change agent to try to convince these employees to adapt to the new lean principles. Change agents face several challenges while trying to implement lean principles. The organization may not have adequate finance to help facilitate the application of lean principles in an organization. Lean processes require skilled personnel. The organization may not have money to hire new qualified staff and thus the change agent may fail to implement the lean principles. Furthermore, application of lean principles requires advanced I T systems. An organization may not have the financial resources to acquire these systems. The change agent may also fail to identify all the processes in the organization. This may be caused by the complexity of the processes. The change may not be implemented since the change agent may fail to identify non-value adding items because of the complexity of the processes.

If I were assigned the role implementing lean principles at my organization, I would face several challenges. Some of the employees will not support these principles because it may reduce their power of control. Furthermore, I may not have enough funds to acquire advanced systems to support the application of lean principles. I will avoid these challenges by educating the employees on how our organization will benefit from increased profitability and productivity through the adoption of lean principles. I will also ask for external sources of financing by issuing bonds or through bank loans.

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