Manufacturers that integrate lean manufacturing principles into their production processes can enjoy a significant increase in efficiency. However, they must also contend with the challenges of implementing lean production effectively to exploit these benefits. For many manufacturers, this wouldn’t be possible without lean manufacturing software.
What Is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is a production method that has evolved from the industry-defining Toyota Production System, which is known for its pioneering of the just-in-time production philosophy. The modern system we know today as lean manufacturing emerged in the 80s and 90s, with a more substantial focus on value and waste streams.
The core principle of lean operation today is still just-in-time production. Lean production systems are designed to receive feedstocks and complete products only as needed, avoiding the need for significant inventory and warehousing used in conventional manufacturing. For a lean manufacturing system to work properly, careful and accurate material requirements planning (MRP) is needed.
A lean production process strives to optimize five key areas, which can be applied across many different industries and at varying levels within an organization.
Manufacturers must identify what their customers identify as valuable to continuously optimize production towards those criteria.
- The Value Stream
Having identified value, manufacturers can evaluate processes to determine which elements add value and which steps are wasteful.
Manufacturers should ensure that products move smoothly between process steps without bottlenecking or intermediate inventory.
Establishing a pull system where orders are produced as demand is generated, rather than producing stock in anticipation, can increase efficiency.
Lean production manufacturing means continuously improving processes to increase efficiency further and reduce waste.
These principles serve as the central guidelines for lean manufacturing methodology. Lean manufacturing processes are often combined with other manufacturing management systems to better realize the goals of increased efficiency and reduced waste.
5S Lean Manufacturing
The core lean manufacturing principles serve as a framework for improvement but don’t necessarily provide a clear course of action for implementation in a lean factory. 5S lean manufacturing integrates the broader workplace organization method 5S with lean manufacturing to provide a clear path forward.
5S, like lean manufacturing, is derived from Japanese manufacturing principles. The five S’s of 5S are taken from the original Japanese, with the typical English translation being:
- Seiri – Sort
- Seiton – Set in order
- Seiso – Shine
- Seiketsui – Standardize
- Shitsuke – Sustain
5S is widely used among many different types of workplaces, not strictly manufacturing operations. The general concept behind 5S is that by having an organized and orderly workplace and processes, inefficiency and time loss due to confusion and misunderstanding can be avoided by having an organized and orderly workplace and processes.
Six Sigma Lean Manufacturing
Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology focused on variability and defects in production. The sigma refers to standard deviation, a measure of variability in processes. A process that operates at six sigma quality has tightened variability to the point that specification limits are six standard deviations from the mean. This means that such a process produces below 3.4 defects per million opportunities.
Manufacturers who integrate Six Sigma into their operations rarely do so without integrating lean principles as well. The combination of the two is often referred to as Lean Six Sigma or Six Sigma lean manufacturing. Together, the two methods are highly effective in reducing waste in manufacturing processes.
How Lean Manufacturing Improves OEE
Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is one of the primary key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring productivity for any manufacturing operation and serves as an accurate indicator of how lean technology affects any process. The use of lean manufacturing to improve OEE can deliver results across each of the KPI’s three components, availability, performance, and quality.
Equipment availability is the percentage of planned production time that equipment actually runs. Stoppages due to unplanned maintenance, bottlenecking, and other issues reduce availability. Lean operations and systems rely on production leveling to ensure that equipment isn’t left waiting for other steps during production.
Performance refers to the percentage of units produced compared to the total that the process would have produced running at maximum speed. Lean root cause analysis can play an important part in identifying the cause behind any slowdowns. Lean Six Sigma root cause analysis tools focus on distinguishing between causes from symptoms and developing a fuller understanding of how a process really works.
The Importance of Lean Manufacturing Software
The foundation of lean manufacturing dates back to the 1930s, a time when manufacturing environments were simpler. Today, the complexity of factory floors makes integrating lean manufacturing a real challenge. Lean production software plays an essential role in meeting that challenge and letting production reach even higher levels of efficiency.
The coming together of lean manufacturing and industry 4.0 technology has brought about the advent of lean manufacturing 4.0. This new approach combines the time-tested principles of just-in-time manufacturing and waste reduction with the latest lean management software tools.
Production scheduling has always been one of the biggest hurdles that manufacturers face when implementing lean manufacturing. The reduction of inventory and the efficient use of all resources leaves very little room for adjustment during production runs for conventional manufacturers. However, lean process manufacturing software can provide the production planning and scheduling versatility needed.
Industry 4.0 and lean manufacturing come together to provide a factory floor where real-time information can come together with production planning to fully realize the just-in-time manufacturing principles that lean manufacturing is built on. Lean manufacturing industry 4.0 factories can react quickly to changes to enjoy the increased benefit of lean manufacturing without its inherent risks.
Implementing Lean Manufacturing With Matics
Matics provides a solution that gives manufacturers the real-time operational intelligence they need to make the most of lean manufacturing principles. The solution brings together real-time data from every machine on the factory floor and consolidates it into a single source of truth that can be accessed quickly and intuitively.
Real-time alerts and notifications allow production teams to react quickly to changes in OEE or any other issues that arise on the factory floor. The wealth of tools included with the Matics solution can help your organization reduce waste, improve scheduling, and facilitate planning from start to finish.
You can book a demo to find out more about Matics today.