How To Make The Most Of Your Lean Manufacturing Tools

A basic, fundamental tool in Lean manufacturing that can help any business the ‘5S’ approach is an organizing, structuring technique to get rid of clutter and waste. Cleanliness handmade in Germany and having a set place for everything is key. The name stems from the Japanese meanings and equivalent words for…

• Sorting things (seiri)

• Setting things in a particular order (Seiton)

• Shining, daily maintenance (Seiso)

• Standardization (Seiketsu)

• Sustainability (shitsuke)

Cut costs and reduce waste by applying these simple techniques to your business today. Cellular manufacturing has to do with organizing not the workplace only but the work as well. Work-cells and designated work- areas, certain spaces for certain activities, minimizes movement of people and things, therefore costing less. In an operational sense this means no batching, no waiting, no delays, no queuing, just smooth operation and easy flow.

Mistake-proofing (Poka-Yoke)-Built-in safeguards, reducing defects to zero is at the center of this approach. Highlighting problems as they occur, not letting mistakes, oversights and errors slip through is key. Processes are designed around this principle to be more efficient and will help your business cut down on cost, scrap and waste.

(SMED or single minute exchange of dies ) Quick and speedy change-over in business processes, manufacturing and operations are essential. Remember time and quality matters, means money! Process thinking is the key here.

Getting rid of unnecessary steps, actions or movement are key. Reducing time on any line, saves money. There is more to lean manufacturing that just these couple of tools. They just serve as an introduction to some of the major business enablers that Lean manufacturing can bring to your business and organization. Improving quality and speedy delivery rates are any company’s priority. Making and keeping customers happy is what it is all about. Lean manufacturing offer you the tools to do that practically, quickly, easily and consistently.

Two Key Rewards For Your Business To Capitalize On:

Breakthrough profit and competitive advantage you can not change what you do not acknowledge or know about. Lean Manufacturing brings with the appeal and awareness to ‘take note’ and notice things around you (cost, waste, movement, clutter, scrap etc.) and then do something real, meaningful and constructive about it!

What improvements should and could be made are both important questions to ask, prioritize and act upon. Customer priorities, things that affect your incoming revenue should get attention quickly and first. Things like quality, lead and waiting, cycle time, cost, inventory and other internal processes that affect the customer and are ‘internal’ and controllable, should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Asking the right type of questions could provide you with hints as to a strategy and starting point:

• Which process or step should get the bulk of our attention where is the biggest WIN-WIN for both the customer and the company?

• What are all the priorities that we need to pay attention to in this organization/business and operation, map the processes and make the list. Then ask in what order you should tackle the priorities?

• How do we get the BEST improvements the quickest way? How do/can we tap into the benefits of Lean manufacturing right away?

If reducing overhead, quality costs and inventory to save money, reduce weight and be a smooth operating, streamlined and cost-efficient provider are keys to your business success, Lean manufacturing can help your business in all aspects and areas. Taking the theory of Lean manufacturing to the practical implementation will take planning, patience and persistence.

Determination, detail orientation and discipline. We often refer to these as the THREE p’s and the THREE d’s to make them easy to remember. Gradual, planned, focused effort is what it is all about. Step-by-step instructions and actions to get to improvements over time, that can be sustained, stable and predictable are essential.

If any of the following scenarios are important to your business, Lean manufacturing can help you reach targets and goals in this area that you set for you, your team and your business:

• Increasing operating margin and revenue

• Reduce manufacturing lead, wait and cycle times

• Lessen WIP or work-in-progress inventory (half completed product), time and space costs money!

• Reduce costs

• Reducing manufacturing overhead and quality costs

• Increase gross profit margin

• Get customers what they want, when they want it, anytime, every time and all the time, quickly and correctly, affordable and on-demand.

• Achieve consistent quality and low defect rate (scrap/waste)

Make the most of your shareholder value and you can not go wrong. Achieve high levels of improvement rates and customer satisfaction, quality products, low costs and do so quickly and you remain competitive and profitable.

Get and keep your processes under control and improve getting better all the time, setting and positioning yourself head-and-shoulders above the masses and mediocrity. Help define and execute your competitive edge with a well-thought out, supported, gradual deployment, throughout or Lean manufacturing in your business and you are set for desired outcomes, success and results!

Having a very real measurable impact and resulting dramatic improvements in your business listening to your customer complaints can give you great hints as to where some of the problems might lie. DO NOT hesitate to ASK them! They will tell you. It is a wonderful opportunity and channel to let your customers know that what they want, say and need, really matters. If you provide this level of responsive personalized business, you will have success, not only now, but also, in the future.

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