Open minds and unlock potential with a Lean (Process) Simulation

Open minds and unlock potential with a Lean (Process) Simulation

Robert Briffa, Business Manager, Efficiency Works


There is an old saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. For many of us, what we don’t know is quite a lot. However, why is it that most of us think we know everything? Just ask any 15 year old!

I often find this pattern of thinking in the workplace, our experience leads us to feel that we know everything about the business processes we work in each day, we tend to block out or be resistive to new ideas or even old ones because we think we know best.

Modern manufacturing and mass production has been around for over 150 years, significant evolution has taken place not just in the technology deployed but the organisation of process and people.

Not everyone has had the opportunity to be exposed to and learn the techniques and thinking pionered by Toyota in the 1950s, these techniques, honed and proven over time have helped countless numbers of companies improve their performance.

Balancing the scorecard of Safety; Quality; Cost; Delivery and Morale can be an ongoing challenge, fortunately we usually find that creating effective processes delivers benefit across all aspects of the operational scorecard.

Leading and facilitating this change makes working in modern manufacturing a rewarding sector to be part of and personally I am inspired by the companies that chose to embark on and continue this journey.

Whether it is ‘Lean’ or ‘Continuous Improvement or ‘Six Sigma’, the methodologies, techniques, and mindset captured by these philosophies have made a staggering difference to the companies and people using them.

But what is Continuous Improvement and Lean / Lean Six Sigma?

A great way to find out, and to explore this mindset is via a Lean (Process) Improvement simulation.

A Lean simulation refers to the use of simulated environments or scenarios to replicate the principles and practices of Lean methodology, which aims to optimize processes, eliminate waste, and improve overall efficiency. There are several benefits associated with conducting Lean simulations:

Hands-on Learning: Lean simulations provide a practical and interactive learning experience. Participants can actively engage in the simulation, applying Lean concepts in a controlled environment. This hands-on approach helps individuals understand Lean principles more effectively and retain the knowledge gained.

Safe Environment: Simulations offer a risk-free environment where participants can experiment, make mistakes, and learn from them without affecting real-world operations. They can test different Lean techniques, explore innovative ideas, and identify potential challenges or barriers to implementation without any negative consequences.

Visualization of Concepts: Lean simulations provide a visual representation of Lean principles and their impact on processes. By seeing the simulation in action, participants can better understand the flow of materials, identify bottlenecks, and observe the effects of Lean techniques on productivity, lead time, and quality.

Team Collaboration: Lean simulations often involve teamwork and collaboration among participants. This fosters communication, cooperation, and problem-solving skills within the group. Team members can work together to analyze the simulation, brainstorm ideas, and implement Lean strategies collectively, enhancing their ability to collaborate effectively in real-life Lean projects.

Identifying Waste: The primary goal of Lean methodology is to identify and eliminate waste in processes. Simulations enable participants to recognize different forms of waste, such as unnecessary movement, waiting time, overproduction, defects, and excess inventory. By actively observing and analyzing the simulation, individuals can develop a keen eye for waste and apply Lean tools to reduce or eliminate it.

Continuous Improvement Mindset: Lean simulations promote a culture of continuous improvement. Participants can experience firsthand how small changes in processes or workflow can lead to significant improvements in efficiency. This cultivates a mindset of seeking continuous improvement opportunities in real-world scenarios and encourages individuals to apply Lean principles beyond the simulation.

Experiential Learning: Lean simulations provide an experiential learning opportunity, allowing participants to apply Lean tools and techniques in a realistic context. This practical experience enhances their understanding of Lean concepts, builds confidence in their ability to implement Lean practices, and equips them with the skills necessary to drive Lean initiatives within their organizations.

In summary, Lean simulations offer a valuable and engaging approach to learning and implementing Lean methodology. They provide a safe and immersive environment for participants to understand Lean concepts, visualize their application, collaborate with teammates, identify waste, and foster a mindset of continuous improvement.

 Please see the Efficiency Works Lean (Process) Simulation in action and client reactions by clicking here

Come along and meet the Efficiency Works team at the Modern Manufacturing Expo – register for free here