Learning about Lean
Lean is the new buzz word when it comes to maximizing your manufacturing processes, however the theory behind it is not a new one. Renowned automotive entrepreneur Henry Ford was amongst one of the first manufacturers to develop and implement lean manufacturing on his assembly line. When building his Model T vehicle, Ford used a continuous assembly line with tight schedules and exacting standards to ensure that each stage of assembly flowed smoothly with minimal waste, and this is exactly what lean manufacturing seeks to provide in today’s assembly lines.
Back to basics
Manufacturers need to make the very best products in the most cost effective way, whilst eliminating waste where possible. Waste is anything that does not add value to your product or its implementation, and perhaps one of the most common waste costs to manufacturers is overproduction. Of course, these costs have to be recouped somewhere, however lean consultants believe that customers should not be made to pay for the mistakes of manufacturers, whether that is due to defective products or surplus stock. Customers demand value for money from their products and in a digital age where e-Commerce is just a few clicks away on a smart phone, they are happy to shop around, which means that manufacturers have to think smart right from the outset. Expert consultants can advise manufacturers on implementing a lean approach, so that they can develop a far more efficient process that reduces waste and cuts costs without compromising quality.
Work better, faster.
As well as reducing product waste, another precious commodity that manufacturers often lose is time. Lean consultants can come in and quickly identify the non-negotiable aspects at the core of the assembly line process and also the less important tasks that could be removed to streamline and speed up the production. All too often manufacturers are faced with assembly line issues, and employees spend hours trying to make do and mend when their skills could be better utilised elsewhere in the production process. By investing in a lean approach and making changes at the start of your process, such as fixing or upgrading a faulty machine, you can improve efficiency, reduce employee overheads and make significant savings in the long term.
Lower your Lead Time
Historically, manufacturers have adopted a ‘push’ process where the production rate to create stock ready to go initially exceeds the customer demand, but this can be an incredibly costly system. Lean consultants assist in the switch to a more cost effective ‘pull’ process, where production is dictated by customer demand and requires the next step in a production line to ‘pull’ the product through to the next stage of assembly. Using a single piece production line, you can avoid the mistakes and inaccuracies that often occur in batch assembly processes, as the product will only be pulled through when it is ready. This removes unwanted bottlenecks in your production line and gives you an advantage in the market place.