Lean Manufacturing in situ - Lean Medical Manufacturing

Lean is a Team Effort. Everyone Needs to Be On Board. 

One of the key benefits of a successful lean medical device manufacturing program is the synergistic effect realized from a committed and focused team. In fact without the commitment of the entire team a lean system can fail. It is this interdependency of team members that fuels the team spirit, an essential element of lean medical manufacturing program success.

Let’s talk about lean manufacturing in situ and team …

Back in the day (~480 BC) the famous Greek battleship commander Themistocles gained acclaim for leading the attack and ultimately destroying the Persian fleet. His fleet of trireme ships were of an eloquent design. They provided the superior evasive speed and ramming power to be victorius in the battle of Salamis. 

KMC Systems, Lean medical device manufacturing

So one might ask … How did they power this ship?  (hint – this is where the team part comes in). 

The standard warship in Greece at that time was the trireme, a vessel which had three banks of oars with one man to each oar. The total crew of a trireme was about 200, of whom 170 were oarsmen.

Immediately, I’m thinking how did they ever coordinate their rowing  strokes? … especially when the need for course correction was necessary !!

I’m just guessing that the perfection of their course change maneuverability techniques came with a lot of practice/team building excercises and were probably built on continuous improvements over a long period time.

One thing is clear … it took a team of committed rowers focused on the same goal to reach this level of excellence and win this battle. Sounds to me like adhering to the fundamentals of the lean process were just as important in the times of Themistocles as they are today.

Goal setting for lean manufacturing is done for teams, not for individuals. Good management principles of providing recognition and reward as a team also reinforces people to think as a team.

The Battle of Salamis saved Greece from being absorbed into the Persian Empire and essentially ensured the emergence of Western civilization as a major force in the world. Many historians have recognized the Battle of Salamis as one of the most decisive military engagements of all time. 

How's your team working?

Is the team spirit palpable?  

If not, here's a few things to consider:

  • Open Communication

    • builds cohesiveness and trust

    • promotes the learning/sharing of knowledge

    • fosters innovation

    • improves quality

  • Cooperation not competition

    • recognize and show appreciation for the diversity of team player skills

    • celebrate together (team accomplishments, birthdays, etc.)

    • solve problems as a group

    • encourage asking for help

  • Team Support

    • provide clear team goals

    • empower the team with responsibility and autonomy

    • manage the team with guidance and coaching

    • determine and provide adequate training

For a lean medical device manufacturing organization, what’s important is the final team accomplishments, not the individual performances. So get everyone in the boat and tune up your team spirit to make sure everyone's oars are in the water and pulling towards the same goal. Be like Themistocles and your team will emerge as the next major force in your marketspace!

Looking for a lean medical contract manufacturer? Download the KMC Systems Brochure to learn more about our capabilities. 

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Topics: medical device manufacturer, KMC Systems, medical device contract manufacturing, medical device lean manufacturing, lean manufacturing