A recent article in the Manufacturer called for comment about whether the UK automotive industry can get leaner.
In the article, Mark Adams, VP of purchasing at Toyota insists that the UK automotive supply chain has a long way to go in respect of lean manufacturing and said that we needed to get much better at reducing waste. With Japanese automotive manufacturers being at the forefront of ‘lean philosophy’ you would expect them to know what they are talking about. However, some UK suppliers don’t agree, Dave Cameron of Johnson Controls might question Adams’ claim…. the article goes on, as only operations that actually relate directly to the production process are classed as adding value and everything else is classed as waste.
My thoughts immediately turned to how lean labour would help the argument of UK suppliers. OLE or Overall Labour Effectiveness is a real time labour productivity standard that Kronos have encouraged our manufacturing customers to adopt. Most suppliers are striving to meet production targets and are focusing on lean production – however, labour productivity is often not prioritised in the way it should be. OLE allows manufacturers to analyse the cumulative effect that three workforce factors have on productive output: availability, performance and quality. By using this labour standard manufacturers can drive superior results that have a measurable impact on productivity and the bottom line.
So, yes, I do think UK automotive suppliers could get much leaner, but my take is that Lean should, not only encompass production but that lean labour is the next big frontier that manufacturers should address.