Lean Process: A Workforce Shortage Solution

Guest blog by Hali Motely, MMTC Project Manager

Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center’s Pete Schmidt understands how challenging this year has been. One recurring theme facing many companies large and small is how to find people to fill open positions within their organization.

If everyone is looking to hire new employees, it becomes very difficult to find just the right person to fulfill your needs. This competition strains resources, including time and money.

What if there were a way to reduce the number of new hires needed? Trying to find four new hires instead of 20 would be an easier task in today’s competitive market. What is a new solution many hiring managers are missing? Go Lean!

“Our only security is our ability to change.” – John Lilly

Lean Manufacturing is founded on operational processes that maximize value while minimizing waste. The basic concepts of Lean Manufacturing can easily be applied to non-manufacturing environments to procure efficiencies and increase productivity without additional human capital but with an improved, streamlined process.  For non-manufacturing small businesses, Lean Strategies require fewer resources and maximize the current workforce to increase customer value. Lean identifies the value-added tasks to achieve the goal and eliminates tasks that do not.

Here are 12 Lean tips to reduce waste and free up valuable time for short-staffed businesses.

Re-evaluate, reduce reports, and/or eliminate reports that do not bring value and/or are not read by recipients:

  • Only include essential team members on emails. Eliminate “you’re welcome” replies.
  • Eliminate extra, “just-in-case” materials
  • Streamline documentation and data captures on one document and eliminate entering repetitive information on multiple documents
  • Establish and identify a defined place for all items, both physically and electronically
  • Develop and implement a standard work method for all positions, company-wide
  • Evaluate and design floor plans around “like” activities or tasks
  • Only include essential team members in meetings and establish a post-meeting protocol for the flow of information
  • Exchange printed documents for electronic documents when applicable
  • Establish and communicate a company-wide protocol for meeting attendance, start-time, and end-time
  • Establish an internal review/signoff process with timing requirements
  • Implement a communication policy to eliminate delays in receiving information

Need an example of how Lean in action? Here is a success story from Avalon & Tahoe. The company used Lean to retain 100 jobs and increase capacity by 77%.

 “Change nothing and nothing will change.” – Tony Robbins

We all know change can be daunting. Embracing the “because-we’ve-always-done-it-this-way” mindset can prevent you from freeing up valuable time needed to focus on the tasks that truly matter.

Learn more about how to become a Lean Office Champion today to learn about Lean and tools to improve your business’s productivity.

Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is here to support you on your lean journeys. Reach out to Hali Motley at hmotley@the-center.org or 989.964.2884 to learn more or visit the-center.org for more tips and training.

About The Center

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to compete and grow. Today, we are celebrating a quarte- century of building superhighways of competitive success for our clients, where there were once only slow and lonely dirt roads. Now, we stand ready to face the future with bountiful optimism, focused purpose, strong determination, legions of support staff, and inspired creativity.

Our Mission

The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is an organization dedicated to supporting Michigan manufacturers to work smarter, compete, and prosper.

 

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