Lean Manufacturing: The Basics of Workplace Organization

Lean Manufacturing: The Basics of Workplace Organization

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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Lean Manufacturing: The Basics of Workplace Organization

An efficiently organized workplace is the most fundamental step to guaranteeing the organization’s productivity and preparing it for major expansions in the future. Of course, actually knowing how to set things up in the most appropriate way for your current type of company is a different story, and it’s something that takes a lot of experience and time spent practicing as a leader. But in the end, there are still some fundamental principles that any lean leader should strive to follow, as they can ensure a sensible foundation for most types of companies.

Appropriate Sorting

Nothing can frustrate workers in a production plant as quickly as having to spend a lot of time searching for each piece of the “puzzle.” Materials and tools should be clearly organized in a way that allows anyone to find what they need quickly and efficiently.

Moreover, you’ll want to think about the sorting system not only on a local level – that is, in each separate department – but also on a global one, looking at the big picture of the whole production plant. Figure out which resources are shared between which departments, and make sure that nobody has to spend an unnecessarily long time to get to the corresponding part of the plant.

Sorting can also prevent resource starvation when multiple units of the organization are competing for something, which is not only a common occurrence, but a difficult problem to resolve as well. In many cases, employees aren’t directly inclined to share these issues out of fear of stepping on someone’s toes elsewhere in the organization, leading to poor and inefficient communication as well.

Maintenance and Cleaning Matter

Some leaders see cleaning and even maintenance procedures as purely cosmetic, things that are just done to make the place look pretty. But that’s a very wrong approach to keeping a facility in proper working order, and not maintaining a clean workplace can lead to a quickly deteriorating working environment.

You have to put solid procedures for keeping workplaces clean right from the start and ensure that everyone is following them to the letter. Unclean working environments are among the most common causes for workplace accidents, which in turn can lead to a severe reduction in the company’s current output.

Don’t postpone regular maintenance procedures until it’s too late! They’re supposed to be regular for a reason! The last thing you want on your hands is a set of machines failing because they haven’t been kept in proper working condition, and this actually happens more often than you’d expect. Once the organization gets too large for you to personally oversee this aspect of its operation, you will want to hire a dedicated maintenance expert – or multiple ones – as soon as possible to minimize any future problems.

Everyone Should Contribute

Constant improvement is one of the core ideas you’ll want to follow when running your organization, but one of the critical details about it is that it has to be spread evenly across the whole organization as best as possible, instead of only coming from the top.

It’s great if you’re constantly pushing for an improvement in all aspects of the company’s work, but if the same can’t be said for the majority of your employees, this will quickly lead to a deteriorating working environment. Everyone must be equally motivated to propose improvement ideas and solutions to current problems, and if you can figure out a reward system that promotes this style of thinking even further, then you should see a lot of development in the long run.

It’s also important to ensure that these ideas are drilled into new employees as early as possible, so you’ll want to spend some time evaluating the company’s current recruiting and training processes. Sometimes making small changes in these areas can have surprising results on the efficiency of the whole organization.


Organizing your workplace efficiently from the very beginning is a crucial element to ensuring that you’re running a smooth, lean organization that’s built on a solid foundation. As long as you manage to give everyone a proper motivation to contribute to the process, and ensure that the company’s rules are being followed on all levels, you’re on the right track to building something sustainable.


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Original: http://www.shmula.com/lean-manufacturing-the-basics-of-workplace-organization/24247/
By: Shmula Contributor
Posted: October 15, 2017, 3:24 pm

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