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Lean Manufacturing

What is Lean Manufacturing? 

Lean Manufacturing is a collection of processes and tools that work together to minimize waste and increase production in the manufacturing industry. The core of this system is to reduce all forms of waste without affecting productivity of the operation and to systematically select which elements add value and which don’t. Manufacturers may use the term “going lean” when referring to their operation’s transformation by using these methods. 

How to Implement Lean Manufacturing: 

Implementing Lean Manufacturing doesn’t look the same with each business. There are numerous tools and processes to select and utilize, which companies will have to decide according to their products, consumers, machines, etc. The outcome of implementing a Lean Manufacturing system does come with an element of risk, as the transition may succeed or fail. 

Lean Manufacturing: 8 Types of Waste

Waste, specifically in Lean Manufacturing, refers to any effort made that does not successfully transform materials into a product that the customer can pay for. The manufacturing industry has pinpointed 8 types of wastes that exist within an operation:

  1. Defects – any form of poor design and equipment, improper documentation, poor quality control, discrepancies in inventories, etc. 
  2. Excess Processing – poor processing issues typically related to management or infrastructure, such as lack of communication between teams or an inadequate facility. 
  3. Overproduction – producing too many orders before they’re even made.
  4. Waiting – often stems from unplanned downtime, idle equipment, or lack of process control.
  5. Inventory – can become problematic with poor forecasting or over purchasing, resulting in too much raw materials and not enough orders made. 
  6. Transportation – facilities with poor layouts, long distances, or slow material handling systems can create waste in transportation and increase other costs, such as labor and gas.  
  7. Motion – considered as any excess movement that doesn’t drive any value to a customer.
  8. Non Utilized Talent – a waste identified by management’s lack of proper employee usage. 

Identifying the Value of Lean Manufacturing:

One of the most important principles of Lean Manufacturing includes a deep assessment of your products’ value from the perspective of the consumer. This is a key piece of information that can help manufacturing businesses adjust their product according to the demand. In order to adjust or modify the products according to the consumer’s request, businesses must be able to properly track production in manufacturing. 

Adopting a lean manufacturing tool, like real-time manufacturing analytics software or a manufacturing efficiency software, can provide the most relevant data from the manufacturing operations as it instantly occurs. This type of software can deliver results on every aspect of the manufacturing process,  anywhere from machine lines to inventory. Identifying the pain points is the first step of going lean.

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