Lean Philosophy Initiative

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Here at OptiMA, Inc., we are actively engaged in managing our operations according to Lean Philosophy, a customer-focused process that helps us assure the desired result for our customers every time we take your order.

Our goal is to tap employee initiative and innovation to assure that we produce only what is needed, just when it’s needed and in the exact amount needed with only the minimum amount of resources needed.

Lean production is a methodology originally developed for Toyota and the manufacturing of automobiles. It is also known as the Toyota Production System or just-in-time production. Engineer Taiichi Ohno is credited with developing the principles of lean production after World War II. His philosophy, which focused on eliminating waste and empowering workers, reduced inventory and improved productivity.

Instead of maintaining resources in anticipation of what might be required for future manufacturing, as Henry Ford did with his production line, the management team at Toyota built partnerships with suppliers. In effect, under the direction of Engineer Ohno, Toyota automobiles became made-to-order. And because the company was able make changes quickly, they were often able to respond faster to market demands than their competitors could. That’s a benefit we are hoping to realize here at OptiMA, Inc. so we might serve our customers better, faster and more efficiently.

In designing our new office and production space at OptiMA, Inc. we also took into consideration the seven classic types of waste found in many organizations, as represented by the acronym “Tim Wood.”

T = Transport Waste. Movement of paperwork in an office environment is a waste. In building out our new space, we sought to minimize the amount of movement by ensuring that all processes are in the same building, on the same floor, and in an open plan environment.

I = Inventory Waste. Our aim is to have enough inventory of work in our system to keep things moving along, but not so much that it reduces flow and masks problems. By aiming for information to move through our office “just in time” we minimize the potential for error and help reduce costs.

M = Motion Waste.  The goal of our new floor plan is to organize our work space to minimize or eliminate “excess” motion that slows down the process.

W =Waiting Waste. Our staff is actively engaged in eliminating wasted time, that is, time spent waiting for information from someone else; waiting for a computer screen to refresh; waiting for an approval; waiting for someone to complete one phase of a job before you may complete yours.

O = Over-Production Waste. The overall process can only go as fast as the slowest process.<strong> </strong>We aim to only produce what the customer needs or what the next process requires (i.e. the previous process should “pull” work from us, rather than us “pushing” work onto them). By not over-producing we reduce the amount of inventory of work in the pipeline and improve turnaround times.

O = Over-Processing Waste. Over-processing occurs when we do something unnecessary that is not required (or appreciated) by our customers.

D = Defect Waste. Our aim is to reduce the number of errors, so we can reduce the amount of rework, and in doing so, reduce our costs and our turnaround times.

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