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When you’re running a small business, it’s important to make the most out of what you have. This makes reducing waste paramount. But what is waste, exactly? If you’re operating on the definition that the lean manufacturing philosophy gives it, waste is anything that doesn’t benefit you and your customers. The lean manufacturing philosophy is designed to help your business reduce waste and run more efficiently. If you want to increase productivity and profit, it’s one of the best management philosophies you can follow. Let’s go over some ways to incorporate lean manufacturing in your business.
The core principle of lean manufacturing is reducing waste. To do this, you need to start by identifying the areas creating the most waste. Do you feel like certain processes take longer than they should? Do you throw out dumpsters full of material out each week? Do you spend more money purchasing inventory than you make by selling it?
Once you identify where most of the waste comes from, start formulating a plan to reduce or eliminate it. If you’re spending more money than you’re making, for example, you might need to examine the price of your materials and your own products. Two ways to fix a discrepancy include using a different supplier or adjusting the price of your product.
Streamline Your Processes
Many small businesses do everything by hand. This might seem like a cost-effective idea, but it actually costs a lot more money than it saves. There are two reasons for this:
- You waste a lot of time doing everything by hand.
- You might end up damaging materials and products—humans make errors, after all.
If you want to improve speed, productivity, and efficiency, you’ll need to find ways to streamline your processes. The best way to do this is to invest in automation and digitization. For example, a stretch wrapping machine can save you time, money, and other resources by improving upon the packing process. Automation doesn’t just mean machinery, either. You can also automate your business by using software and programs that send out emails, deal with customer service, and track sales in your employees’ stead. Digitization, on the other hand, will help organize and protect your business’s most important documents.
Always Aim to Improve
The last way to incorporate lean manufacturing in your business is to develop a culture of continuous improvement. Is there something that isn’t quite working well for your business? Instead of continuing to use a failing system, take the time to investigate the reason it isn’t working anymore. The problem might need a simple fix, or you may need to completely reevaluate and rework the system. If you want your business to continue to succeed and stay profitable, be receptive to change. Otherwise, you may find yourself stuck with processes that waste more resources than they generate.