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Reliability Excellence® (Rx): A Foundation for Successfully Implementing Lean Manufacturing

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Reliability Excellence and Lean manufacturing have two common objectives: increasing flow and reducing waste. Lean manufacturing implementations in unstable, reactive environments cannot achieve their full potential. Reliability Excellence provides the asset stability, process effectiveness and cultural transformation required for a successful Lean implementation.

Lean is full of promise, but not always progress

Lean manufacturing is currently the most common approach to driving productivity in manufacturing facilities. Today’s manufacturing leaders look for Lean to deliver improved financial gains by eliminating waste and creating flow. 

Despite this widespread popularity, Lean manufacturing is not meeting leadership’s expectations. The Industry Week/MPI Census of Manufacturers, which was released in November of 2007, reports that almost 70% of all U.S. plants are utilizing Lean manufacturing as an improvement approach. The data goes on to say that only 2% of respondents have fully achieved their goals and only 24% have reported achieving significant results. That means that 74% of the participants report they are not making meaningful progress with Lean. 

What is required for a successful Lean implementation?

To be successful, a Lean implementation requires:

  • Reliable manufacturing equipment 
  • Stable, standardized manufacturing processes
  • Cultural readiness for change
  • Committed leadership

Without these critical elements, the results that are delivered through blitz events and other Lean methodologies are not sustainable.

How does Reliability Excellence support Lean implementations?

Reliability Excellence creates a strong foundation for Lean manufacturing by creating:

  • Reliable Manufacturing Equipment – The work order and prioritization processes that are employed in Reliability Excellence, when applied correctly, result in manufacturing equipment that runs when it is scheduled. These processes are applied across the organization so everyone has a stake and ownership in stable assets. 
  • Stable, Standardized Processes – Reliability Excellence creates stable processes by driving out variability in procedures employed by operators and by keeping key equipment on line, avoiding the need for “work arounds.” Visual systems and metric alignment techniques focus the operational staff on eliminating key problem areas. 
  • Cultural Readiness – By proactively managing culture change, Reliability Excellence ensures early adoption by key stakeholders and gradually, a critical mass is built that allows new business processes to be sustained. Communication plans and risk mitigation plans are built and executed that effectively allow leaders to clear the cultural hurdles to change that exist in their organizations. 
  • Committed Leadership – A central focus of Reliability Excellence is engaging leaders to get actively involved in leading the change efforts. A leadership and focus team structure is created to execute upon a Master Plan. Individualized coaching occurs with critical site leadership to accelerate the transition to leading in a proactive environment.

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