What is Lean Manufacturing?

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Lean Method and Six Sigma: What Is The Difference and Which Do You Need?

Lean Manufacturing concepts eliminate wasteful practices while delivering increased value to the customer, but what does that really mean? We spoke with Rick Bohan, training consultant for ERC, about what lean manufacturing is and the importance of it.

Lean manufacturing can be described differently depending on who you ask. It is a concept understood by many yet lacks an indisputable description. Below discusses a few of the different ways lean manufacturing is described.

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Skilled Manufacturing Salaries Gain Ground

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Despite multiple reports of optimism about Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing sector growth rate, the widely publicized quarterly economic indicator report published by Team NEO for the fourth quarter of 2012, further analysis offered by the report’s research team concedes that growth does not translate directly into job growth. The quarterly report cites data from Moody’s, placing the region above the national average for manufacturing sector growth rates. But, the researchers point out that increased production does not guarantee job creation at those same levels.

At least in the short term, manufacturing job growth here in Northeast Ohio does seem to be accompanied by slightly more competitive salaries when compared to national averages (2013 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey). Although the increases are small, only a few percentage points each year, skilled manufacturing positions such as welders and CNC machine center operators are among those that are consistently gaining ground and ultimately becoming more competitive when compared to national averages.
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Skilled Manufacturing Jobs See Higher Salary Increases than Unskilled

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Pay for skilled manufacturing jobs seems to be rising, according to a 2012 national survey released by ERC. Based on the 2012 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey, several skilled manufacturing jobs (namely supervision) saw higher salary increases than unskilled manufacturing jobs.

Median Salaries for Production Supervisors




% Change

Production Supervisor - Unskilled Operation




Production Supervisor - Semi-skilled Operation




Production Supervisor - Skilled Operation




Trades Supervisor - Production Support




Source: 2012 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey

The survey reports a decrease in median salary from 2011 for production supervisors of unskilled operations, yet positive increases in median salaries from 2011 for production supervisors of semi-skilled, skilled, and trade operations. In fact, these increases were above the average salary increase of 2.8% in 2011. Employers reported the highest percentage increase (5%) in median salary for production supervisors of skilled operations.

Other data in the survey shows that several unskilled manufacturing jobs, including production workers and laborers, reported modest if any salary increases from 2011. These findings are consistent with local pay trends which show relatively stagnant wages for some manufacturing jobs, particularly unskilled ones.

The findings of this survey are consistent with other local and national trends we've seen, suggesting that skilled manufacturing jobs are in high demand and pay is beginning to reflect this demand. Pay is often a factor influencing retention for employees in the manufacturing sector, so providing above-average or competitive pay rates for manufacturing jobs will be crucial for employers seeking to attract and retain highly skilled manufacturing workers.

View ERC's Wage & Salary Adjustment Survey Results

The survey reports data from Northeast Ohio organizations regarding their actual and projected wage and salary adjustments.

View the Results

Manufacturing Jobs: Local Pay vs. National Pay

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A 2010-2011 survey released by ERC shows how pay for common manufacturing and production jobs in Northeast Ohio compares to pay provided by employers across the U.S, based on data from the recently published 2010-2011 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey.

Comparison of National & Northeast Ohio Median Salaries for Select Manufacturing/Production Positions

*Reflects data from the 2010-2011 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey