There are some misunderstandings about lean and its application .Some of the misconception about lean are
- Lean means cost cutting
No.Cost cutting means cutting down the expenses whether it is essentially required or not .Lean focusing more on cutting down the waste or unnecessary expenses, which is not adding value to business
- Lean is for manpower productivity
Partially true. Lean is focusing on waste elimination or reduction in any form like man, machine, material, and method. By eliminating or reducing wasteful activities in format, manpower, material, machine, or process efficiency is improved. Hence, it is not only on manpower productivity alone.
- Lean is applicable for manufacturing organization only
No. As said, lean is all about waste elimination. As long as activities are there in any organization, waste will be present .Wherever waste is there, Lean is applicable. It is not only applicable for manufacturing.
- Lean can be implemented only in large organization
No. One of the assumptions is that implementing lean requires investment and only large organization can afford lean. Actually, understanding the lean concept, tools, and techniques is easy and does not require investement.Lean thinking and practices can be implemented in any size of the organization. In fact, Lean can be easily implementable in small and medium scale organization because of its size and activities involved.
- Lean is all about 5S and Visual Boards
No. Most of the people think that doing Housekeeping (5S) and putting display boards is lean manufacturing.Ofcourse fundamental requirement for waste elimination is housekeeping , ie keeping the workplace in order ,but that alone is not constituting Lean system. Lean is beyond implementing housekeeping practices.Similary visual management is one of the elements of lean system in which display and control boards are part of it. Hence, Lean is beyond 5S and visual boards or even it is beyond any lean tools and techniques. It is philosophy and way of conducting daily management.
- Lean is for during lean seasons
One of the most misconception is that lean implementation is for not peak season as everyone is busy with activities and lean is for during lean season. Lean is nothing do with the busyness of people either peak or lean period. Lean is for waste elimination or reduction. In fact, implementing and practicing lean concepts during peak period may give more savings.
- Lean can be useful during recession
Same as above assumption. There is no right time as recession or booming economic environment. In fact, if Lean is understood well and lean thinking is implemented internally, external factors will not affect the organization much
- Lean is only for automobile and ancillary organizations
No. As said, Lean is nor for specific to any industries. Wherever there are activities involved, Lean can be implementable. Why it is popular in auto and ancillary industries is that the lean concept was evolved and tested first in auto industries.
- Lean implementation is time bound
No. No organization can claim that they implemented lean system thinking ,because fundamental of lean is zero waste, zero accident , zero defects and it is impossible to achieve and thus it calls for continuous improvement or excellence journey .Lean implementation is a process or journey .. It is not a destination.