Lean Manufacturing and the Customer Experience
If you’ve ever visited with a Hytrol representative, visited our manufacturing facility, or even just read our blog posts, you know that Lean Manufacturing is at the heart of everything that we do. We began our lean practices over 10 years ago, and we’ve never looked back, and there is a single reason why: our customer.
Lean manufacturing doesn’t just add to the customer experience: it’s all about the customer experience. Those customers can be the people who buy the project, or they can be the next stakeholder in the process. Either way, meeting the needs and expectations for our customers both internally and externally is at the core of lean. As internal teams create processes and solutions to pass onto the stakeholders, it sets the stage for the company to be able to provide the ultimate experience for customers. Lean manufacturing is the link between the two, and without adopting lean, you will probably fail.
Lean Manufacturing completely changes the customer experience in two main ways: it allows our manufacturing to be efficient and allows us to produce top-quality products.
This kind of manufacturing forces us to look through the customer’s eyes in everything we do, whether it’s creating the perfect part or cutting out the processes that our customers don’t want to pay for. It pushes us to look at value through the eyes of the customer.
In true lean manufacturing, the process itself is analyzed at each step and only the essential components are kept–the rest is discarded as waste. This happens during innovation, design and development, testing, manufacturing and implementation. It’s not an easy process and every person has to buy into it, but it results in heightened awareness, communication and effort. It allows every person in the process to be a stakeholder and to present new ideas and solutions in order to create the most efficient solution possible.
Not only are customers demanding better value for their money–they’re demanding better products. Because lean manufacturing takes in the entire process, from design to implementation, this results in a better quality product than one might make otherwise. As we’ve discussed on the blog before, the difference between quality assurance and quality control is that quality assurance is proactive and quality control is reactive. Lean pushes proactive solutions so there are fewer chances to make mistakes down the line.
During the lean process, each person is in charge of creating the best product they can for the next step, until the product ends up in the hands of the customer. Achieving this isn’t easy, but it is essential. When lean is in the roots, a great customer experience will be a way of life for manufacturing.