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Increase Lean Manufacturing Improvements through Business Plan Deployment

In a wide variety of industries, many manufacturers have found that implementing lean manufacturing principles can provide their organizations with a competitive advantage. These companies have seen significant benefits derived from the execution of Lean Manufacturing principles. In most cases, results include the reduction or elimination of waste, higher employee engagement and improved quality and throughput. All of these improved attributes lead to improved customer satisfaction and company performance, such as cost reduction and profitability. 

Most companies may be satisfied with continuing to utilize the lean principles that they have implemented and, through continuous improvement, work to refine and improve their performance within their organization. As a result, further incremental improvements would be gained. But there is a key next step that businesses can take to further drive lean manufacturing improvements and results. That is the implementation of business plan deployment (BPD). 

Before defining BPD and its value and benefits to an organization, let’s first review the basic premise of what lean manufacturing is and the principles associated with it.

The purpose of lean manufacturing is to ensure that:
    • Waste is identified and eliminated,
    • All work efforts are aimed at adding value to the product or service produced,
    • And, most importantly, to ensure that employees are able to perform their tasks in the most efficient manner,
      ensuring that quality products and services are produced.

Lean manufacturing includes five basic principles: people involvement, standardization, built in quality, continuous improvement and short lead time. The length and scope of this article does not allow for a detailed explanation of all of the principles. However, it is important to note that lean manufacturing is a system, with all five of the principles working together to help achieve an organization’s objectives. (See Exhibit 1.)

Exhibit 1: The Five Principles of Lean Manufacturing
Mazzeo Exhibit_1

What is Business Plan Deployment?

BPD is a process that enables the total organization to set targets, integrate plans and remain focused to achieve company-wide priorities while managing change. BPD fits into the lean manufacturing principle of continuous improvement. BPD also has a significant impact on the people involvement principle, as BPD fosters greater employee engagement.

BPD starts by the senior leadership establishing the strategic direction and setting specific goals for the organization to achieve over a period of time. Usually this would be a company’s annual business planning and implementation cycle. While a company may select a wide range of goals, in reality, the fewer and more focused goals that are identified, the better the opportunity for successful cascading throughout the organization and achievement of the objectives. As an example, goals might include:
   • Safety – Achieve Safety Leadership
   • People – Develop an Engaged and Qualified Workforce
   • Quality – Achieve Market Quality Leadership
   • Responsiveness – Meet Customer Demand
   • Cost – Maintain Profitability

For every one of these goals, an overall company performance target must also be established. For these goals, these performance targets become the basis for establishing the supporting metrics to track performance and ensure that goals are achieved.

What’s different about BPD and other business planning processes?

In many operations, the leadership asks all of the functions to develop their annual business plans. As a result, engineering, purchasing, quality and other departments develop and submit their plans. Most likely, after a series of reviews, the individual plans are approved. However, concern can be raised regarding how well the plans integrate, as they should all align to achieving the company’s overall objectives. Many times, individual department plans do not get this kind of cross-functional review. Using the manufacturing organization as an example, it may receive a series of objectives that it needs to achieve in support of the individual departmental plans, but these departmental plans are not all aligned. This can result in manufacturing having to respond and support functional objectives that may be in conflict with each other and do not all directly support the overall achievement of the company’s manufacturing goals and objectives. (See Exhibit 2.)

Exhibit 2: A Non-integrated Manufacturing Plan


An effective BPD process ensures that the entire organization develops, aligns and delivers one plan to the organization. Thus, company leadership has to ensure that:
   • Strategic direction is developed to attain business results using lean manufacturing principles
   • Conflicting issues and objectives between strategies and staffs are prioritized and resolved
   • Specific ownership is assigned to implement and track BPD implementation
   • Business plan initiatives for specific areas such as quality, cost, etc., are developed and achievable
   • Progress and best practices are shared at frequent performance reviews

Staying with the manufacturing example, the plant manager receives one cross-functional, integrated plan for the specific strategies to be executed. This results in better alignment not only at the staff level, but also at the plant where various functions now have one common plan to implement, eliminating conflict and waste. (See Exhibit 3.)

Exhibit 3: An Integrated Manufacturing Plan



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