How is Lean Manufacturing used today?
Lean manufacturing is one of the most used production methodologies in the manufacturing industry. But because this framework has been around since the 1950s, many people have doubted its ability to adapt to a more modern world rife with technology and new industries.
That said, Lean manufacturing continues to be relevant, especially with new concepts like the 5S system driving its adoption, and still produces great benefits to businesses even outside fields of production, including healthcare and financial services.
How Does Lean Manufacturing Work?
Lean manufacturing works based on five key principles:
- Defining value: Identifying how much customers are willing to pay for products and services
- Mapping the value stream: Reducing waste in a product’s lifecycle
- Creating flow: Streamlining workflows
- Establishing pull: Producing only based on demand (versus based on forecasts, which follows the push system)
- Pursuing perfection: Continuously finding ways to improve the system
So how does Lean manufacturing improve quality, boost customer value, and enhance productivity? The belief is that by eliminating waste, resources are better allocated and workflows are more seamless, generating better value on all fronts.
Examples of Lean Manufacturing in Use
Lean manufacturing is applied in different industries and proves to drive great results in enabling businesses to find success. Here are some ways Lean manufacturing can be beneficial in different industries:
Printing companies often struggle with late orders and long lead times, which turn into excess inventory and unnecessary waste. With Lean manufacturing principles, irrelevant tasks and items can be removed from the value stream to maximize workflow. This can increase on-time delivery with shorter lead times and improve inventory management.
Warehouses cost a lot of money to upkeep, especially when you factor in manpower that has to oversee operations within. Lean manufacturing can identify how to reduce warehouse use without hampering production through organization and visual management. The saved value can then be converted to other value-adding activities.
Changes in shifts can lower productivity. By applying Lean manufacturing principles, a changeover can be made to minimize downtime, enable equipment maintenance for consequent shifts, and enhance communication, adding a couple of hours to up-time and increasing output.
Lean manufacturing can help heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) manufacturers pinpoint bottlenecks in their processes, whether in production or delivery, to reduce indirect labor costs, reduce prices, increase market share, and retain staff.
When there’s an increase in orders, businesses may struggle to catch up with demand, resulting in long lead times, overproduction, and delayed tasks. Lean techniques can map out the customer service process, and help teams apply techniques to improve the value stream and flow, eliminating the need for extra manpower and office space.
How to Apply Lean Manufacturing in Your Business
Lean manufacturing involves creating customer value and increasing efficiency all by one key concept: reducing waste. There are many ways to do this. Here are some tools and techniques that you can use to apply Lean manufacturing in your business:
The 5S system is a visual management approach that creates safe, efficient, and effective workplaces to prevent wasted resources.
Kanban is a method used to achieve just-in-time delivery. It streamlines processes by adding physical or electronic signals.
Jidoka is a system that helps businesses detect abnormalities in their processes. It involves stopping work until issues are corrected and solved in a way that they won’t happen again.
Poka-yoke is a mechanism that prevents human error. It requires adding indicators in key steps where people may make mistakes, signaling when steps are missed, or blocking the next stages until a previous step is done correctly.
Lean Six Sigma
Is Lean Six Sigma useful? It is, especially considering that it combines the fundamental elements of Lean manufacturing and the data-driven approach of Six Sigma.
Driving Results with Creative Safety Supply
Creative Safety Supply is ready to help your business use Lean manufacturing concepts to drive positive results. Learn more about how Creative Safety Supply can help by reading our comprehensive guide on the 5S principles and how you can apply them to your company’s day-to-day activities!
- What are the benefits of Lean Manufacturing?
- What does Lean Manufacturing consist of?
- How does Lean Manufacturing improve quality?
- Is Lean Six Sigma useful?
- How do I learn Lean Manufacturing?
- What is the difference between Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma?
- What’s the difference between Traditional and Lean Manufacturing?
- How can Lean affect the supply chain?
- What is the Lean manufacturing process?