Lean Manufacturing is a system that is being implemented in just about every factory nationwide. The days of mass production are nearing an end as the manufacturing world is becoming more and more dynamic and agile. The principals of this system are making plants more profitable and ready for change.
To implement a Lean System, you are going to break your factory down and then build it up. Getting rid of unnecessary procedures is just the start. Eliminating inventory is the result. The goal that you are looking to achieve is to only produce items that customers order and have them delivered on time and not defective.
The ideas behind Lean Manufacturing are designed to reduce waste, inventory, space required, lead time required and changeover time. While this is happening, productivity and profit are supposed to be on the rise. How can a firm accomplish all of this and still keep customers happy? The trick is to have a fluid system with employee enthusiasm and a tight supply chain.
Reducing the waste refers to wasted material and man hours. In a Lean System, you are going to organize everything so that no materials are wasted and so that your workers do not spend time looking for tools or anything else. Their workstations will contain everything that they need to do their job in an orderly fashion.
5 S as a Part of It
The 5 S system is an important part of Lean Manufacturing. In most assembly lines, there are going to be multiple shifts. This means that different workers will be sharing the same workstation at different hours. If the station is not organized then they are not going to be able to work efficiently as they are searching for tools and materials. When you sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain a workstation, anyone who walks into it can find what they are looking for. It is a user friendly system that helps everything run smoothly.
Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management is just about the most crucial part of Lean Manufacturing. The supply chain must be fluid and dependable. This system is built around “Just in Time” principals. This means that you are depending on orders coming in just as they are needed. Then, the materials are used in the production process and the finished product is sent out on time. If one part of the supply chain falters, the entire system is down until that problem is fixed. When you and your suppliers are on the same page and are dependable then you can run smoothly with no problems.
Keeping your supply chain tight is difficult. This is where the most competent of employees should be positioned. When you cut out inventory, you had better be able to produce fast and efficiently. This means that all of your cards have to be aligned at all times. Inventory gives you the ability to slack off, but also ties up capital, floor space and runs the risk of never being ordered.
Implementing Your Own Lean Manufacturing System
Lean Manufacturing is not easy to implement on your own. Since you are changing your entire manufacturing system, it is best to get professional team to help you through the process. There are instructors that will come to your factory and customize a program to get you up and running in a Lean System. You will learn the dynamics of the system and how to maintain it when the instructors are gone.