Lean manufacturing: boost productivity and save money
Ready to go lean? A number of companies have retooled the way they do business and they have implemented an approach known as lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing consists of improving productivity, decreasing wastes, and strengthening your revenue. In addition to all of these great features you can also expect to receive increased customer service for your ability to change to a lean manufacturing environment.
Lean manufacturing is more than just a way to eliminate waste from your business, a large part of it also depends on your ability to motivate your employees and improve their job satisfaction. If your employees are happy and satisfied with their jobs, you are likely to have better products as they will pay attention to details and they actually care about the welfare of the company. When you decide to introduce lean manufacturing to your company you need to make sure that your entire organization is ready to use these new processes for the long-term. Unlike other methods that focus on improving your company lean is a long-term method to fix the problems with your company.
Proper implementation of lean manufacturing depends on your ability to use the tools provided. The 5 common tools of lean manufacturing include the following:
- The 5 S Method - this is one of the most commonly used tools with lean manufacturing as it provides you with a great way to retool your business. You will be able to take a look at each employee's workstation and make a determination as to what needs to stay and what needs to go. The main goal of the 5 S Method is to simplify the workplace to make it easier for employees to perform their job duties. The other goal is to reduce waste and then to improve quality and efficiency.
- Kanban - Do you have a pull system? This is commonly used to trigger specific actions for the company. Kanban is a visual approach to organize a company and to improve processes.
- Heijunka - Similar to Kanban you will rely on a visual approach to improve efficiency and production within the organization. The heujunka box will have cards and times that will allow employees to stay on schedule with what they need to do.
- Poka-yoke - to avoid mistakes within your organization you will use poka-yoke and this will allow you to prevent defects by drawing attention to human errors that are causing waste within the organization.
Lean manufacturing was developed by the Toyota Production System. This process allows you to focus on quality and eliminating wastes. According to the Toyota Production System, there are several different types of waste you need to identify in order to run a profitable business:
- Muri - this type of waste is due to overburden. This means your employees have too much work to do because of poor organization, faulty machines or lazy workers. Head back to the design phase to develop ways to reduce waste that occur in this phase of lean manufacturing.
- Mura - this waste is due to fluctuations in the implementation phase. Waste will occur because you have too much inventory or you have fluctuations in quality along with volume.
- Muda - this refers to any activities within the organization that are considered wasteful and unproductive to the organization. Do you have your employees performing job duties that are unrealistic? Do they have to waste time to move around and find the supplies and other things they need just to perform their job duties. This is usually due to poor arrangement of the way your system and processes are set up within the organization.