Taking Advantage of your IT Staff to Implement Lean

When evaluating a facility for ways to improve efficiency and implement lean standards there are many different areas to observe.  For most companies it is important to take advantage of the IT staff when planning and implementing any changes or improvements throughout the facility.  While IT won’t be able to assist with every single step toward lean standards, they can be surprisingly helpful in many different and unexpected ways.

In today’s high-tech world just about every part of everyone’s job is influenced by technology, which is why the IT team will play such a key role in the implementation of any new standards.  There are several things the IT staff should do before any changes are finalized and put in place to help avoid problems and improve the end results of these lean changes.

Checking for Compatibility

When going through a facility looking to identify opportunities for improvements it is critical to have the IT staff along with you.  Computer networks in virtually every business environment are very interconnected throughout not only an individual facility, but often throughout multiple campuses of the corporation.  This often means that a change in one area can actually cause changes to other areas of the network.  Having the IT staff assisting with the evaluation and implementation of any change can help to avoid unexpected problems caused by the lean updates.

Efficiency through Technology

Technical teams will also be able to spot areas where they can help eliminate waste by using technical solutions to problems.  Computers and technology have helped people around the world improve efficiency in incredible ways over the past several decades, and it will continue to do this long into the future.  Many companies have found that when they have someone from the IT staff review the work that other departments are doing they are able to find inefficiencies or duplication of work which could be handled better by computers or automation.

Since the IT team will typically have a different way of looking at each task that is done in the facility they can often offer great suggestions on how to improve the overall process to become leaner and more profitable.  This is one of the most important roles the IT staff should have, and many companies today are completely overlooking this perk that they bring with them in their role.

Facility Wide Lean Implementation

To get the best results possible the entire facility must be part of the lean implementation.  While some areas will be more directly involved than others, it is very important to make sure the lean leadership is looking for ways to improve efficiency throughout the facility.  The IT staff should not only be looking at their own teams and processes for opportunities for improvement, but also at the other groups which they are supporting.  Even something as simple as running automated reports to see where problems in efficiency may be occurring can lead to vital changes that will help ensure the success of the lean processes being put in place.

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