The Benefits Of A Lean Manufacturing System
A lean manufacturing system is a system and philosophy that was first developed by Toyota for its production system. Lots of manufacturing business has adopted this system for them to enjoy the benefits that it has to offer.
The name “lean manufacturing system” is a generic term that refers to the principles and theories to rid your business of waste. Waste in a lean manufacturing system is referred to processes that do not add to the value for money for the customer that buys from you.
The lean manufacturing system principles are:
1. Value – Customer’s willingness to pay for your product.
2. Value Stream – Add-ons to a product or process.
3. Flow – The movement of your product being biased to single piece flow or work cells rather than production lines.
4. Pull – Having the right amount of materials to manufacture the product at the same time having a small or no inventory.
5. Continuous Improvement – Getting rid of waste on a constant basis.
For example, if you order a computer over the Internet it may take a week for your computer to be delivered to you. It will only take a few hours for the technician to assemble and have your computer ready for use.
The reason why it may take a week is because of the different shipping practices used by the company. It may also be bottlenecks within their current manufacturing system like having the company wait for the required materials to arrive that make you wait those extra days.
Having a lean manufacturing system for your business and the application of its various principles can make your order for a new computer shorter. Instead of waiting for a week for your computer to be delivered to you, it may just take 24 to 48 hours. The lean manufacturing system is designed to give the customer value for money at the lowest price at the least given time.
Another good example of a lean manufacturing system is the eyeglasses in an hour. Usually it would take at least 24 hours for glasses to be made and delivered to the customer, maybe even longer. A lot of lean principles have been applied to this lean manufacturing system. Now you see a lot of eyeglasses in an hour stores from malls to stores near your street.
Judging from the examples above you may think that the quickness in delivery is the only benefit that a lean manufacturing system can give a business. Actually this is just one in the many benefits that having a lean manufacturing system can offer. A lean manufacturing system also gets rid of waste while maintaining low cost and at the same time satisfying customer needs.
Getting rid of waste and all the useless processes is so crucial to the lean manufacturing system that it even has it’s own term “muda.” “Muda” in lean manufacturing system is also a Japanese word for waste.
There are seven types of considered waste in the lean manufacturing system:
1. Over Production – Producing a product that is made faster than is sold is wasteful.
2. Inventory – A product that has to be stored is wasteful because it ties up money as inventory.
3. Conveyance – Moving a part unnecessarily during production is wasteful. Can also damage the part.
4. Correction – Having to inspect, correct your products because of production errors is a huge waste of time and money. This can be overcome with error proofing. This means that the product can be made through that way only.
5. Motion – Awkward movements of the operator can put different aches on different parts of their body. Making this area better will reduce injury and workman injury claims.
6. Processing – Customer requirements that are not clear to the manufacturer cause the manufacturer to produce different add-ons that is wasteful since it will increase the cost of the product.
7. Waiting – The operator doing nothing is a waste. It’s ok that the machine waits for the operator not the other way around.
Eliminating waste through lean manufacturing system streamlines your company thus by getting more done with less equipment, capital, space, effort, labor, inventory and time.
Having a lean manufacturing system established in a company’s organization could do wonders. This is because while saving time, money and precious resource, the company’s production system is improved and becomes more efficient. Other companies admire this attribute that to have a lean manufacturing system can only mean a good management.