Why is lean manufacturing so successful?
Lean manufacturing has been around for many years now and a number of companies have been able to save millions of dollars by implementing it. This brings up the question, what is lean manufacturing and why is it so successful? This article will help you understand more about lean manufacturing so you can determine if it's right for your business.
What is lean manufacturing?
For starters, what is lean manufacturing exactly? Lean manufacturing is a process improvement method that allows your company to identify and eliminate waste and errors. Any process within the company that does not add value or promote it's success is seen as a waste and you need to remove it from the company. When you use lean manufacturing you will focus on fixing problems in the shortest amount of time using the fastest route possible. The purpose of implementing lean manufacturing is to provide your customers with a higher quality product so they will select your product over your competition.
Many manufacturing plants used to follow old methods of having everyone stand in lines, perform a job, and go home. As long as product orders will filled and people were able to get their jobs done, no one really paid much attention to the number of product defects and errors that were happening within the company. Waste is much more than having some of your products returned, it also focuses on time. How much time do your employees waste by standing around and doing noting while they wait on the machinery and other employees? With lean manufacturing, your employees are all involved in their various jobs but they also are involved in the end result. There is a chain of communication that must be strong in order for the business to function. If this chain of communication breaks down, employees won't be able to perform their jobs effectively.
Fix the supply chain
One area you need to focus on is your supply chain. Are products being duplicated correctly? If there is an error with a product, it's going to show up within the supply chain somewhere and you need to find the group that is in charge of it to have it fixed before you waste more time and products. Anything that doesn't add quality, value, and function to the business must be eliminated from the supply chain in order to produce the highest quality products.
Another reason to implement lean manufacturing is for the amount of money you will save. When you aren't wasting your employee's time and when you aren't throwing away numerous products because they didn't pass your quality control test, you will actually save money. Look for a way to recycle the wasted products so you aren't losing even more money on wasted products.
Many times companies put one person over multiple jobs; this usually leads to defects and problems. You need to focus on creating smaller workstations for your employees so they can actually have time to do their job. Breaking up their jobs into various stations is much easier for them to manage their jobs as there is minimal movement for them. You don't have to wait around to find a tool that you need to do your job as it will be right there in your station. Organization is a big part of lean manufacturing and its one of the biggest reasons you will be able to have a manufacturing plant that runs smoothly.
Lean manufacturing may take some time to initially implement but it won't be long before your employees catch on and it becomes a normal thing for your business.