Lean jobs can be found in many different industries where lean employees work to develop methods for a company to save money, cut operating costs, and produce better products. A common type of lean job is seen in factories, and often referred to as lean manufacturing. A lean manufacturing job can be a very rewarding career, as those who work lean jobs are greatly appreciated by companies which they often help increase profits or in some cases stay afloat.
Some companies employ full-time employees to fill lean manufacturing jobs, while others hire a consultant on an as needed basis. Job opportunities depend upon the size and scope of a company. While some businesses can afford to employ lean engineers and managers, others simply need reorganization, therefore they contract out to those experienced in the industry of lean manufacturing.
Because the overall goal of lean business practices is to optimize the manner in which a company functions, there are specific educational requirements for those interested in lean manufacturing jobs. Most companies prefer to employ or contract individuals who have a background and degree in manufacturing or industrial engineering. Some companies are satisfied with a BA degree, while others require a Master's or an MBA.
Those who hold lean manufacturing jobs have various responsibilities. They are expected to identify areas of a business that need improvement, such as a factory line, and establish a plan to eliminate or decrease waste in order to save money and develop a higher quality product. Lean employees also develop and lead training programs for other employees out of an effort to make the business and its practices more efficient. They are usually responsible for the ongoing monitoring of employees, production, and efficiency.
Though the job can be rewarding, it can also be demanding. Because motivation and morale play a big role in productivity, lean managers and consultants have to be able to motivate and encourage employees. Lean managers and engineers have to be innovative and creative enough to see where a problem exists, as well as be able to develop plans that can be put in place to remedy the problem area. Employees and other personnel put a great deal of trust in those who work lean manufacturing jobs, such as engineers. The financial future of a company is at times in the hands of a lean engineer whose sole job is to cut costs and improve quality.
Lean manufacturing jobs are often found in such places as automobile factories and mattress producers. Job prospects for lean jobs remain stable as the need for cost cutting and improved efficiency remain a necessity for businesses to profit. Lean jobs are especially important during times of economic hardships, such as a recession, when companies have to cut spending and prices to keep their doors open.