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President’s Letter

The key to rapid implementation of Lean Manufacturing is to accelerate the learning curve by engaging a Lean Manufacturing expert to assist you.

The principles of Lean Manufacturing are relatively simple to understand. The difficulty is in implementing these simple principles and manufacturing the  product at the same time. A good analogy would be changing a tire on a car. You can read the owner’s Manual and successfully change the tire. Mass production is like changing a tire in the pits at a car race. Everything is organized and changed very quickly. Converting a mass production operation to Lean Manufacturing is like changing a tire while the car is still on the track running 150 miles an hour and the competitors are trying to knock you out of the race.

In converting to Lean Manufacturing, it’s not only important to do the right thing, but do it at the right time and in the proper proportion. A mistake in a car race can result in a crash into the wall. A mistake in converting your operation to lean can be just as devastating to you and your business. It is very important to have the knowledge of a lean expert to help you make a smooth and speedy transition to Lean Manufacturing. Beware of those who only speak the language or speak the buzzwords, but have not walked in your shoes in a lean transition and know the pitfalls as well as the benefits. Lean Masters has assembled a team of lean experts that have been there and done it successfully. People with these skills are truly rare today.

The most costly thing that you can do in manufacturing is to continue to use mass production departmentalized batch and queue methods. If you get a two-year jump on your competition converting to Lean Manufacturing and stay the course, it will be virtually impossible for them to catch up.

After working in mass production for twenty years, it was difficult for me to believe the benefits of Lean Manufacturing. But after starting up two joint ventures one with a Toyota family company and an American company, and one with Nissan family and an American company, and managing four operations through the conversion to lean, I found the astonishing benefits to be true. We reduced inventory 90%, improved productivity 2% per month and reduced lead-time from months to days, with almost no capital investment. The best way to see this in your operation is to install lean in a model area and measure the benefits for yourself. This can be done within a few weeks with the assistance of one of our lean experts.

I would welcome the opportunity to visit your facility and discuss your lean opportunities.

Jim Thomas

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