All manufacturers constantly strive to optimise their production processes to improve quality and output and also to reduce their costs in order to increase profitability in their industrial manufacturing systems and processes.
One technique to achieve these results and one which is in wide use is a systematic approach to rid the operations of any waste during their ongoing processes.
This system of lean manufacturing includes guideline and procedures to optimise and improve production processes constantly. This concept was first developed in Japan as Kaizen which is a constant focus on always improving or getting better in whatever you do. It is a principle that can be adapted to any field of human activity.
In the lean manufacturing method of doing things, it is important to get things done correctly, the first time, with no defects. Problems are identified at the source and solution found or them, as they occur. Anything that does not add value to the item being manufactured is eliminated and all resources at the disposal of the operator are optimised.
The bar of excellence is constantly raised, and the process of improvement is constant and never stops.
The focus of lean manufacturing has to be on reducing costs while improving quality and productivity.
Operations need to be streamlined, and teamwork has to be focused through better sharing of information while targeting the improvement of the manufacturing process.
The customer demand has to determine activities and inventories, so that wait times are cut down and ultimately eliminated. The production processes in lean manufacturing have to constantly adapt, through flexibility and agility, without compromising on efficiency or quality.
These efforts and efficiencies have to be extended to the supply chain and other parts of the business so that interactions work, fit into each other, and are lasting.
Lean manufacturing allows manufacturers to have a recipe for success in today’s constantly changing technology world and enables a business to flourish and prosper in this environment of change.
It is understood in this type of manufacturing that any waste of time, energy, space, effort, money, and poor quality will all lead to an increase in manufacturing costs. To be lean it is essential that you need to be in the right place, doing the right things, in the right quantity, and with the right quality, while having the minimum of waste, by being constantly flexible and having an ability to adapt and change. Work has to be done quickly with the least effort and waste. There must be no unnecessary movement during operations.
This method of manufacturing requires constant innovation to find ways to cut costs, without in any way compromising on quality or the requirements of the customer. Unnecessary steps in the manufacturing process must be trimmed or eliminated. Things that are extraneous must be cut out, and there must be a constant search for cheaper alternatives in all aspects of manufacturing, inventory, and customer satisfaction, without in any way compromising on quality.
Standardisation has to be a part of the process as it can help to reduce waste. There must be a constant look at reusing resources, reducing their quantity and recycling them, as part of the lean manufacturing process.