Thinking Lean: Four Keys to Trim Manufacturing

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Lean manufacturing isn’t something manufacturers can achieve overnight; and it’s certainly not a one-and-done process executed in a vacuum. To the contrary, waste elimination is achieved through enterprise-wide “lean thinking” and continuous, thoughtful improvement.

Here are four “musts” that will ensure your ongoing success in lean manufacturing.

1.       Stability and Standardized Work

Stability throughout the organization can be gained through a document control system (DCS) and workflow management engine. This ensures that relevant, accurate information is accessible to every operator at every work center. That includes standardized work instructions, inspection check sheets, and quality control plans, to name just a few.

2.       Continuous Improvement

End-to-end problem control and corrective actions/preventative actions (CAPA) help to identify issues before they occur and more easily correct problems should they occur. Actively working to reduce and control problems throughout the organization is the very core to continuous improvement.

3.       Quality First

Control plans and Failure Mode and Effect Analyses (FMEAs) are essential for a reliable quality program that covers the entire enterprise from the plant floor to the shop floor. Your organization’s ERP system should be able to validate the source of inventory to ensure proper usage of raw material. Insight into statistical process control (SPC) and supplier quality provide additional strength to quality objectives.

4.       Just in Time (JIT) Scheduling

JIT scheduling helps you keep production and the supply chain running smoothly, so your inventory remains at an optimal level. JIT scheduling even helps manufacturers prevent too much standing inventory and reduces scrap—a must in any manufacturing environment.

GR Spring and Stamping is one manufacturer that implemented a continuous improvement program and was able to become more efficient, achieving significant cost savings in the process. Check out the details. The company ultimately saved upwards of $1.2 million, so it’s definitely worth the read!

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