Organizations willing to implement lean production would benefit from the guidelines discussed below. These guidelines take into account such factors as changes in work teams, multi-skilled workforce, self directed teams and continuous improvements. Several issues surface during the process of conversion into cells on work teams. These teams are created to control relationships between members of various professionals.
However, human, operational and social issues might reduce the overall effectiveness of these teams. The social aspect of the teams is necessary for improving operational performance as well as maintaining the advantages of lean production. With regard to multi-skilled workforce, unionized workforces have been negatively accompanied with multi-functional work teams. It is therefore apparent that organizations which aim at establishing such guidelines will experience more problems than non unionized organizations.
For the purposes of successfully implementing lean production, more care and resources are therefore required. It becomes critical to revitalize incentives so that they mirror the priorities associated with multi-functional training and multi-functional workforce. These incentives might be financial or non financial. Financial incentives for instance can be pay increases for a given number of knowledge and skills. Non financial incentives could be pegging promotions on cross functional training.
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Leading from the front also provides another way of promoting workforce which is multi skilled. Self directed a team is a possible cause of resistance to change as a result of increased expectation of unjust practices by employees due to the shifts in work teams. Adequate explanation should therefore be given to eliminate these underlying concerns. These concerns should therefore be determined early enough so as to address them before the implementation process is commenced.
Finally, organizations need to consider a number of organizational factors affecting lean production philosophy in order to realize continuous improvements. These factors as discussed in the previous section include absence of mutual respect, boundary rigidity and under organization. In contrast, to improve and encourage the performance of lean production, additional organizational factors such as crisis urgency, focus by external consumers and financial incentives positioning should be nurtured (McLachlin, 1997).
Conclusion This paper examined the factors which impedes successful implementation of lean production and how to overcome them. Organizations planning to implement lean production mechanism should therefore implement changes in the organizational structure and culture during the conversion process. These changes present immensurable impacts on the workforce of any organization. Research studies to understand the lean production process and its impacts on organizational changes have not been comprehensively conducted.
More research is therefore necessary to comprehensively spell out all pertinent variations in the management of supply chain specifically where changes in organizational structure are involved. Despite perception by some industry players that lean production has become obsolete, this concept is still relevant in the modern world. This is because most organizations which have been reluctant in recognizing and converting to lean production philosophy may not have enough competitive edge in the modern competitive age.
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