Smart Solutions Series: Go Lean to Solve Your Labor Shortage



lean-mfg2.jpgDuring the past challenging year, one recurring theme that many companies have discussed with me – whether they have 10 employees or 200 – is that they are all struggling to find people to fill open positions within their organization.

If everyone is looking to hire new employees, it becomes very difficult to find just the right person to fulfill your needs. This competition puts an added strain on resources, both in time and money. What if there were a way to reduce the number of new hires needed? Trying to find four new hires rather than 20 would definitely be an easier task in this competitive market. So, how could this be made possible? Lean Manufacturing!

The principles of Lean manufacturing have been around for a very long time but have not yet been universally adopted. Henry Ford used many Lean principles while making his first assembly line in the early 1900s (before the concept of ‘Lean’ really existed). Lean manufacturing can now be defined as, A methodology that focuses on minimizing waste within manufacturing systems while simultaneously maximizing productivity. I have always looked at Lean manufacturing as a solution for improving productivity, quality and product lead time, as well as maximizing the utilization of your current workforce.

Some of the Lean tools available to achieve these results include 5S and Visual Management, Standard Work, Total Productive Maintenance, Value Stream Mapping and Plant Layout. Each of these tools can help maximize utilization of your current workforce – not by working harder or longer, but by working more efficiently.

On Wednesday, February 17, from 9-10am, The Center will host the second virtual panel discussion of our Smart Solutions Series. This free session will focus on how Lean manufacturing can help your organization become more efficient to effectively fill workforce gaps in your facility. We will discuss each of the tools I mentioned above, along with some success stories from our past experiences. Learn more and reserve your virtual spot here.

I truly believe that using the tools from Lean manufacturing can help any company become more successful and profitable. This is perfectly embodied in my favorite quote from Mark Twain, “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”


Schmidt_P-web.jpgPete Schmidt, Business Solutions Manager
Pete Schmidt is a Business Solutions Manager at The Center. Operating directly out of Macomb County, Pete provides services and support to small manufacturers in the region to enable them to compete, grow and prosper. Prior to joining The Center, Pete spent more than five years at AXXO Sales, LLC, as Business Development Manager. There, Pete represented numerous companies and product offerings, helping customers manage business growth.




Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at


Categories: Leadership/Culture, Lean Principles, workforce