The world of manufacturing is like a well-oiled machine that requires regular maintenance, repair and often replacements to exact optimal results at cost-effective rates.
In general, manufacturing incorporates almost as many “parts” (processing departments) as any piece of machinery.
In order to keep manufacturing operating seamlessly from start to final wrap, it is necessary to employ principles of lean manufacturing.
These include in order of significance:
- Value identification
- Value stream mapping
- Flow creation
- Establish pull
- Seek perfection
- Lower production costs
- Inventory reduction
- Waste reduction
- Increased labor productivity
- Lower the cost of quality
While many of the principles of lean manufacturing have been part of industrial engineering strategies, it is hands-on manufacturing practices that create a more cost-effective process with maximum quality.
In terms of value identification, the savvy manufacturing manager understands the cohesive link between the value assigned to goods and services by customers and top-down target pricing of these goods and services by the manufacturer.
Value Stream Mapping
Thus, value stream mapping becomes a highly useful tool manufacturers use to determine information flow, material flow, and lead time ladder. This is where lean manufacturing software is a very valuable investment that results in a seamless manufacturing operation.
In order to effect waste reduction, the manufacturer is required to implement flow creation through a fully functional value chain not subject to interruption and creates a full circle, step by step process for individual manufacturing activities.
In today’s manufacturing, the fundamental strategy is building up a WIP (work in process) inventory, stopping the synchronized flow and not making goods and services before they are needed.
This is a diversion from the traditional manufacturing approach where things were made ahead of customer demand.
In pull approach, goods are made only when customers request them which avoids inventory overstocking and waste, lowers production costs and reduce costs associated with inventory such as vendor supply and delivery of raw materials required to produce manufactured goods and services.
Increased Labor Productivity
Implementing lean manufacturing principles has shown a proven track record of success in one other area of importance: increased labor productivity.
No matter the size of the manufacturing operation, increased labor productivity represents a significant opportunity to lower overall manufacturing costs.
To accomplish this goal, it is necessary to finely tune information provided to the labor force. When instructions are articulate, there are fewer labor mistakes, which results in increased productivity.
This also includes respect for individual duties performed by staff. When duties are accurately designed and staff understands the concepts of teamwork to accomplish productivity goals, the result is a proactive, progressive increase in productivity.
Lower the Cost of Quality
Formerly, the idea was that lowering quality would reduce the cost of products and services. However, this resulted in lower standards of quality and reduction in sales to customers.
It became clear that poor quality goods and services do not attract paying customers. Instead of lowering quality to lower manufacturing costs, lean manufacturing principles implanted the strategy that quality should not be sacrificed for lower cost.
Rather, a comprehensive strategy to provide higher quality at lower cost achieved greater results.
Tight Budgets Benefit from Manufacturing Software
The axiom, “Work Smarter, Not Harder,” proves true for manufacturers on tight budgets who invest in lean manufacturing software.
Not only do they find this software timely and cost-effective, but the greatest benefit is producing a state-of-the-art manufacturing operation that meets their tight budget requirements.