Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, going lean (also known as cutting the fat, downsizing, rightsizing, getting competitive and any number of other pathetic euphemisms) meant getting rid of that which companies claim are their most important resource: people. However, today, for small and medium sized business (SMB) manufacturers, going lean means something entirely different. It is a way to apply best practices and technology to increase productivity and profits without adding to your workforce.
The Manual Mindset
Let’s face it, small businesses tend to be labor intensive. A lot of things that larger companies do through automation tend to be done manually. There is a good reason for this. Manual processes provide a wonderful level of flexibility. After all, a human being can handle exceptions and problems easier than can a computer program. On the other hand, this flexibility comes at a price. Many of these manual processe... [Read Full Article]