Reprinted with permission. Original post on Twice.com can be accessed at http://www.twice.com/blog/executive-insight/how-ge-appliances-applying-lean-manufacturing-s-lessons-companywide/66287
Lean Enterprise Leader
Over the past several years GE has invested $2 billion in our appliances business, reshaping the way plants use lean tools, processes and systems to improve quality, safety, delivery, cost and morale.
Now we are on a journey to expand this lean thinking enterprise-wide. The goal? To create cross-functional collaboration that leads to new operational efficiencies and drives a superior ownership experience for our consumers.
As a 24-year GE veteran, I have spent considerable time inside our walls and factories, and as GE Appliances’ first lean enterprise leader, it is my job to help associates see the vision for where we are headed together.
By sharing some of the steps we’re already taking, we hope to inspire other lean leaders who are navigating their own paths to a more agile and responsive business. It is, after all, many different perspectives that can point the way to next-level teamwork that breaks down traditional boundaries.
Lean is more than manufacturing. Lean manufacturing practices are a good start for any company, but there’s much more to this picture. At GE Appliances, we’re discovering how lean thinking can make whole systems work better from front to back. In other words, it’s not just about eliminating waste during the production process, but adopting a holistic approach to making things from concept to creation.
When everyone is involved from the beginning, when there is a constant rhythm of communication, synergy between teams, and manufacturability issues can be solved early on, it speeds our ability to bring products to market and changes how we create value for owners.
Lean is how we determine what our customer is going to pay for while also taking waste out of the system. It’s a laser-focused use of resources, whether in terms of new product features and functionality, or the efficiency of getting products to owners. It could also be ensuring the efficiency of a service or repair we offer. And just like our lean journey in manufacturing, we’re discovering our lean enterprise journey together.