Executive summaryLeagile manufacturing has been facing several managerial and operational problems for the past six months. This is due following the introduction of lean manufacturing strategy in the production system by the vice president of operations, Scott Murphy. Scott was attracted by stories of success of the lean production system in other companies and decided to give it a try. This paper deeply analyses the problems facing Leagile manufacturing, reviews the linkages between customer needs, the company’s strategies and its current operational issues and recommends a strategy that should be implemented in order to overcome the challenges and at the same time remain competitive in the dynamic customer driven market. 1.0 IntroductionIn his effort to implement lean production system, the Vice President of Operations at Leagile Manufacturing, Scott Murphy, did not consider the fact that lean cannot be learnt by reading magazines or books.
While lean principles can be well explained in books, a personal guidance is often necessary in order to identify the best approach to suit a given organization. This element is what was lacking in Leagile Manufacturing. It requires a good understanding of the key principles and lay down the necessary procedures of implementing lean techniques (Kearney, 2003).
Scott got inspired by literary information regarding the success of lean production system elsewhere but it is evident that he lacks practical orientation or exposure with the lean production system. The main aim of this paper is to analyze the problems facing Leagile Manufacturing in the quest of implementing lean production techniques and recommend the right strategy which is driven by customer needs, supply characteristics and contemporary development in manufacturing and supply chain management.
Also, the implementation of this strategy will provide Leagile Manufacturing with a sustainable competitive advantage and provide solutions to the problems currently facing the organization. 1.1 Review of the strategic and operational issues facing the companyOne of the major problems faced by Leagile Manufacturing after the introduction of lean production system is the resistance to change portrayed by the employees. Many employees were still confident in the traditional Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) which they still believe was the best way to run a manufacturing operation (Kotter, 2007). The employees believed that lean production strategy was a disaster and even some of them threatened to quit.
The workers are very furious at the trends of progress and largely blame Scott and his strategy on that fate. Indeed, many of them are not willing to embrace the chance and the increased amount of work that accompanied the new lean production strategy. Secondly, the management had failed to empower the employees. Scott issued a directive to implement the lean production without taking some time and resources to train the employees. The key to empowering the employee is not only have them generate the new improvement ideas but also be actively involved as part of the team that solves them (Noronha, 2002).
Scott failed to provide the necessary guidance and supports to enable the employees of League manufacturing develop a lean culture. Also, there was lack of recognition that lean is a whole philosophy and not just mere techniques and tool. Its true gain could only come from changing the way the whole organization runs which is achieved by changing the whole culture.