Why would you like to implement lean manufacturing in your company?
You probably already know about some of the benefits but let’s list them out:
- Time and financial savings;
- Improved quality;
- Improved customer satisfaction;
- Reduction of lead time;
- Reduction of production costs;
- Flexibility through small batch sizes and low inventories; and
- Better management of process complexity, etc.
Lean manufacturing is a powerful tool to achieve these and many other benefits for your business if implemented correctly.
Continuous Improvement: One fundamental principle in Lean manufacturing is a continuous improvement (kaizen). The concept behind this principle is that if we can continuously improve our production or service processes, it will result in greater productivity, efficiency, capacity utilization, profits, etc. In order to continuously improve our processes, we must find problems/bottlenecks and work to eliminate them.
Lean Tools: Lean toolbox consists of nine different tools that help us identify the problem areas in a process. These tools are 5S, Standardized Work, SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies), Just-in-time (JIT), Kaizen, Kanban, Poka Yoke, manufacturing software, etc. We will address each one of them briefly below to decide which ones would be most effective for your company.
Neutrality or Fairness: Another important concept in Lean is “neutrality”. The idea behind this is that it doesn’t matter who works on what tasks as long as they are completed in a timely manner. This concept will help eliminate long-standing company politics and divisional rivalries.
Employee Participation: One of the main problems with many modern manufacturing processes is the lack of participation from everyone involved. For example, engineering might make a product with specifications that manufacturing can’t produce as designed. To address this problem, we must involve all stakeholders as part of continuous improvement. If engineering works together with operations, they can design products that are easier/possible to manufacture, etc.
This perspective provides a better understanding of why Lean Manufacturing is now widely used for improving business results across different industries worldwide. So, here are 10 benefits you can enjoy once you implement lean manufacturing into your business:
1) Time and Financial Savings
Implementing lean manufacturing into your business can save time and financial savings, improve quality, and decrease production costs. Lean manufacturing focuses on eliminating waste from the production process. A company’s focus should not be on increasing output (which can lead to more waste), but rather on reducing any wasteful activities such as overproduction, anything that is made before it is needed (also called “just-in-case inventory”), or tasks that do not add value to the customer. This will result in shorter delivery times, fewer expenses for materials and components, and higher overall profits.
2) Improved Quality
When these lean concepts of focusing on value-added activity and eliminating nonessential tasks are implemented correctly, your products will offer better quality than your competition’s products at an even lower price. This is because a lower cost of manufacturing along with quicker delivery times will allow you to offer your products at a lower price without losing money.
3) Improved Customer Satisfaction
The decreased lead time, reduced costs, and better quality is all elements that will positively affect your customers’ satisfaction. If you can meet or even exceed their expectations for shorter lead times, they will return again and purchase from you in the future. This is what drives repeat business, which brings us to our next point.
4) Repeat business
Implementing lean concepts into your company can bring numerous benefits, including easier production of modified/customized products or components and improved flexibility through smaller batches sizes & low inventories. Both of these factors will help you generate repeat business as your customers will be able to get what they need more quickly and at a lower cost.
5) Improved Employee Morale
Implementing lean concepts at your company can result in increased employee morale. Employees feel more important when involved, feel good about the improvements being made, their input is valued, etc. This factor alone can go a long way towards improved productivity because employees will work harder for a company if they know that they contribute to its success.
6) Cost Savings
As mentioned above, reduced lead times and reduced Muda (wasted activities) drastically reduce any costs associated with materials or components. In addition to this, there may also be savings from reduced energy consumption & wastewater treatment.
7) Quality Management
In lean manufacturing, quality management focuses on preventing problems rather than inspection/rectification after the problem occurs. This is achieved through a number of different methods, including increasing process stability, shortening lead times to identify & correct problems at their root causes, etc. Because there are fewer defects in a product/component, it will need to be inspected less often before being used, saving time and money.
8) Better Decision Making
Implementing lean concepts into your company can help top-level managers make better decisions about where to allocate resources within the business. By identifying and reducing wasteful activities such as Muda (wasted movement), overproduction, or transportation/waiting periods, you will get more useful information that can be used to help reduce waste and eliminate non-value-added activities. This also allows managers to get more accurate data on how much stock is being held, allowing them to decide whether to buy or not at the right time. This means there will always be enough components/materials available without having huge stocks of materials that are useless or difficult to move.
9) Less Risk
Implementing lean concepts into your company will result in less risk as you have improved processes, shorter lead times, reduced inventory levels, proven production methods, etc. All of these elements provide a good basis for making decisions using well-thought-out forecasts rather than gut feelings or incomplete information, which may present an inaccurate picture of the future state of the business & its prospects.
10) Improved Safety
A number of lean concepts such as mistake-proofing, reducing transportation distances and lead times, increasing process stability, etc., all contribute to better safety within your factory as well as increased attention to detail due to improved quality management, less wastage, and reduced inventory levels which reduces the risk of accidents. For example, you will have far fewer items on the shop floor that could be tripped over or picked up by a machine resulting in an accident to the person involved.
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