Lean Manufacturing Training

Lean manufacturing has become a widely accepted approach to improving operations, which can significantly simplify processes and increase productivity. The successful implementation of this approach cannot take place without the company's employee training in lean manufacturing.

Lean manufacturing training differs from 6 sigma because these approaches have different goals. Lean production tries to increase the value of the product to the customer by reducing costs, and 6 sigma strives to reduce the number of defects and deviations. Both approaches use a number of identical quality tools at the same time.

Lean manufacturing training is less formalized than 6 sigma. This is due to different implementation principles. Lean manufacturing does not require specific roles and linking a set of competencies to these roles (as in the 6 sigma concept). Therefore, when an organization faces the question of training employees, it can conduct training according to need - solving a specific production task.

Participants in Lean manufacturing training

It is necessary to determine the structure of the working group in order to conduct training in lean manufacturing.

As a rule, several roles can be distinguished among the participants of lean manufacturing training:

  • Leadership or sponsors – These are the top management and owners of the company who are interested in improving the efficiency of work. They should be the leaders of the implementation process;
  • Managing Committee or stakeholders - These are members of the top management who set improvement goals and are responsible for achieving results;
  • Working group head - It manages the work of performers engaged in solving a specific task;
  • Performers - These are employees of the company engaged in improving activities at their workplaces.

Forms of lean manufacturing training

The conducting lean manufacturing training companies offer several forms of training. These forms cover all the "roles" of the working group participants and have different goals and "orientation".

The main forms in which lean manufacturing training is conducted are:

  • short-term courses, trainings and seminars;
  • kaizen tours;
  • comprehensive corporate programs;
  • distance and on-line training.

Short-term courses, trainings, seminars are usually held for consolidated groups. The group consists of participants from various organizations and enterprises. The training is carried out as the group is formed. Such lean manufacturing training lasts on average 2-3 days. The main goal is to give general ideas about the concept of lean manufacturing, to introduce the philosophy and principles of it implementation, to talk about lean tools. Some companies offer highly specialized courses aimed at studying lean manufacturing tools and the practice of their application.

Kaizen tours. This is a form in which lean manufacturing training is conducted at enterprises that successfully apply the philosophy, principles and tools of lean manufacturing. The duration of such tours is 1-2 weeks. During this time, a group of learners visits several enterprises as a rule. Theoretical information on lean manufacturing is given and their application in practice is demonstrated during the training.

Comprehensive corporate programs. A program is developed for a specific enterprise in this variant. The training includes both general theoretical information and the use of lean manufacturing tools. Sometimes corporate programs may include kaizen tours. The duration of training can range from several days to several weeks (depends on the number of students).

Distance and on-line training. This form is used for an unlimited number of learners. The duration depends on the programs. As a rule, the set of programs is quite wide. The training is conducted independently with minimal support from the training company in most cases.

Choosing a Lean manufacturing training variant

The choice of the lean manufacturing training variant depends on the needs and capabilities of the organization. It is recommended to conduct lean production training for 1-2 people from the management when the company is just planning to start implementation of lean production. Lean manufacturing training can be completed in short-term courses, trainings or seminars. It will give a general idea of work on the principles of lean manufacturing and will help to make a decision on implementation of it.

The best option for initial preparation will be to conduct a kaizen tour when the decision on implementation is made. Lean manufacturing training should be provided to members of the management committee and the head of the working group. This training is very important from the point of view of motivation and development of leadership qualities in the leaders of the implementation process.

It is important to train the staff to use specific tools after starting work. Comprehensive corporate programs and distance or on-line training may be suitable for this purpose. The remote option may be the most acceptable for office workers. The variant of a full-time training or seminar within the framework of a comprehensive corporate program is more preferable for the personnel of working professions.

The Link between Lean Manufacturing Training and Six Sigma

Many companies offer comprehensive training in lean manufacturing and six sigma. It is carried out as part of the preparation of yellow, green and black belts according to the 6 sigma concept as a rule. The most significant volume in these programs is occupied by the training course 6 sigma, but lean manufacturing training is given at the level of principles, concepts and basic tools. A significant part of the specific tools for improving activities coincides in lean manufacturing and in the 6 sigma concepts.

Training in lean manufacturing and six sigma within the framework of a comprehensive training program for yellow, green or black belts is advisable only if the company intends to implement both concepts - six sigma and lean manufacturing. Training in a comprehensive program can be recommended to the head of the working group if it is planned to introduce only lean manufacturing. The training of other participants of the working groups on the introduction of lean manufacturing may be ineffective in such courses, since most of the knowledge will remain unclaimed.