Lean into your processes : The importance of getting to know your processes and the people involved
According to the lean philosophy there is always room for improvement in all processes, a process can always become better. Lean is about looking at a process from a holistic point of view, identifying areas where there is waste and find small improvements every day.This master thesis aims to answer the question how lean can contribute to process knowledge and sustainable improvement work. In order to receive a deeper understanding of how lean can be applied in real life the authors chose to do a case study at a production site. AGA Knivsta is a newly rebuilt maintenance site for gas cylinders, which has great room for improvement concerning productivity as well as employee satisfaction.According to the large amount of literature studied, lean can be divided into two parts, a strategic and operative. The literature study of this master thesis begins to describe the softer part of lean concerning lean mentality, leadership and continuous improvements. It is essential to begin to work with the softer aspects of lean and then continue and follow up with the hard part, which are the lean tools, as a support and not as the core of lean. It is important to let the people who work closest to the processes improve the processes themselves, in order for the improvements to sustain.The processes of maintaining gas cylinders are mapped, resulting in a Value Stream Map. Contributing to the understanding of all the processes and the work environment at the site, a series of interviews and observations are carried out. A questionnaire, aiming to understand the perception of the work situation is also completed.As many companies fail with their lean journey because they neglect the softer parts, an Action Plan for AGA Knivsta is developed to include all aspects relevant for the site to start its unique journey. A few first steps are taken to acquire a sustainable lean journey by the authors together with the people working at the site. First, a Lean Awareness Session is held to briefly introduce relevant aspects of lean at the site and create a discussion of the need for improvement. Secondly, a three day Process Management Workshop is held to give the leaders at the site and the operators of three selected processes the possibility to learn more about lean, work with improvements and develop tools to use for a sustainable lean journey.Lean involves both the aspect of the mentality and the tools that can help carry out improvement work every day. The understanding of the process increases substantially when committing to a lean journey. If AGA Knivsta commits to take the lean journey and performs it well, the authors believe that the small every day improvements will result in better performance in the long run.
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