In my last article, I gave a brief introduction to BraunAbility’s journey into Lean Manufacturing. For this post I’m going to discuss how it affects the two most important components to Lean Theory: the customer and the employee. Without tremendous emphasis on these two components, Lean will fail.
First, how does Lean Manufacturing affect the BraunAbility customer? Well, since the beginning of the company we have always put the customer first, which is one of the three major Lean principles. Implementing Lean will only strengthen this commitment, and it will greatly affect the product that we deliver to you. This program places a huge emphasis on continually monitoring, designing and improving the quality and design of our wheelchair vans and wheelchair lifts–with the ultimate goal of producing a perfect product off the line, every time. Now I realize that “perfect” is a difficult and lofty goal to attain, but that’s exactly where we’re setting our sights–and we’ll constantly strive to get there.
What does Lean Manufacturing do for the BraunAbility employee? In a word: a ton! As we have begun to implement Lean on our Toyota Sienna Rampvan production line, our team is continually looking for ways to improve the quality of life and working conditions for our employees. We focus on things like improving tooling, lighting, ergonomics and increasing studies on controlling environmental factors such as noise and smoke from welders. All of this helps increase job satisfaction and quality of life for associates on the handicap van production line. This, in turn, delivers a higher quality product to our customers–a win-win situation for everyone involved.
And the coolest part about all of this? We’ve only just begun (yes, sing the Carpenters song in your head), and the benefits and improvements have already started showing up. It’s going to be very exciting to see Lean Manufacturing principles applied across all our production lines in the coming months, and I look forward to sharing our progress with you as we work to continually improve our mobility products.