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How to Get the Most Out of Your Lean Manufacturing Software

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By Emilie A Lachance - September 21, 2020

Your company has taken its first steps toward production improvement by adopting lean manufacturing principles. This is a good decision, because lean manufacturing practices demonstrably improve manufacturing profitability. However, you may be struggling with getting the data you need in time to effectively make decisions in short time cycles to make a difference to the business. 

Perhaps you’re ready to take your lean program to the next level with lean manufacturing software. Lean manufacturing software can extract large quantities of accurate data directly from manufacturing machinery, process it in real time, and provide dashboards that support lean manufacturing processes. A dashboard can provide insights and trends that guide decision-making and compress the time it takes to make those decisions. 

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Using these insights grounded in accurate data to calculate KPIs and analyze performance, improvement practices can be accelerated. However, it is important to use the data in the right way to make the most of the software.

Making the Most of Lean Manufacturing Software—Getting Employee Buy-In

The first and most important step when trying to use lean manufacturing software effectively is to ensure that a company culture of improvement is created, from floor employees to managers. Everyone must believe in the principles of lean manufacturing and the improvements it can make. 

If managers waver in their attention to improvement, or if they seem indifferent to employees working on improvement projects, it will set a bad example, which will lead to employees losing motivation for such projects and finally dropping them altogether. Fortunately, there are lean manufacturing tools (link to 49A) that facilitate gaining employee buy-in. 

Instilling a sense of personal involvement in positive change within the company or facility is vital, especially to floor-level employees. If they don’t feel invested in improvement projects, those problems are doomed to become “someone else’s problem” at a company. A great way to motivate workers to remain invested is to use the lean manufacturing software to display live data for them to view at any time. 

Step one in getting the most of your lean manufacturing software is to make dashboard-level reports available to the largest possible number of people. This is often accomplished through large display panels in the production areas.

When workers see their efforts for improvement making a positive difference in real time, they will be motivated to continue these efforts. If lean manufacturing and improvement aren’t part of the company culture, the implementation of lean manufacturing software will be pointless.

Leverage Both Real-Time and Historical Data from Your Lean Manufacturing Software

Calculating KPIs and presenting insights from current and past data using lean manufacturing software can be useful for a number of different purposes. KPIs that are calculated in real time allow line managers to identify and correct problems occurring within a facility or on a production line quickly and effectively. Having the right metrics and KPIs displayed live will allow managers to be confident that they are making the most effective and well-informed decision to solve a given problem. 

Using historical data to calculate trends in manufacturing processes can also be quite useful. Historical manufacturing data may be able to reveal long-term issues that can be rectified and improved upon. Benchmark data will also provide the ability to track the effectiveness of improvement efforts by comparing current production metrics and KPIs with the same data during past manufacturing conditions. Studying data from the past can both motivate current improvement efforts and identify mistakes to learn from. 

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How You Implement Your Lean Manufacturing Software Is Vital to Your Success

Another way to ensure that companies can make the most of their lean manufacturing software is by getting the implementation process and employee buy-in right. Onboarding is the practice of introducing a product to a new customer so they understand it and can use it effectively. A company can also use the idea of onboarding to train employees in a software’s use and show them how to use each feature the software offers. 

If a company is small enough, all of the software users may be able to fit in one room for onboarding training, but at bigger companies with multiple facilities, a “train the trainer” approach may be used. This approach will train key employees at each location to take charge of the onboarding process and support them with online tools used for training sessions.

With proper lean manufacturing software onboarding, a company can hit the ground running using the software once it is fully introduced at its facilities and be confident that employees will use the software to its maximum potential. 

Have Goals for Your Lean Manufacturing Software Implementation

Simply implementing lean manufacturing software isn’t a magical solution in itself; companies must set attainable goals and coordinate strategies for improvement using the software. Setting unrealistic, excessively ambitious goals can lead to lean manufacturing practices and software seeming to fall short of expectations, which can cause companies and employees to lose faith in lean manufacturing practices. If this occurs, continuous improvement may no longer be seen as a priority within the company, and momentum can be lost.

Beyond setting attainable goals, it is important for employees and managers to understand that using lean manufacturing principles is an ongoing process with no end date. New goals for improvement must be set indefinitely for improvement to be truly continuous. Coordinating strategies within a company will also lead to boosted morale and a sense of unity among workers and managers, because they are all working toward the goal of continuous improvement. 

Getting the most out of lean manufacturing software involves first knowing how to use the software.and believing in the principles of lean manufacturing itself. Using the software to motivate managers and employees will lead to continuous improvement, increases in morale, decreased waste, and, eventually, increased profits. 

Request a Worximity demo, and we can discuss your manufacturing improvement goals and show you how both contemporaneous and historical data can be used to improve your operations. We can also talk through getting employee buy-in and onboarding so you can meet your goals!

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