Lean Manufacturing Techniques

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Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy that aims to get the right products to the right place at the right time and in the right quantity. Lean manufacturing focuses on the reduction of the wastes that decrease efficiency and increase costs. These wastes include over-production, waiting time, processing, inventory, transportation, motion, and scrap. Lean manufacturing has been made popular by Japanese companies who have used these very effectively.

Some of the most popular techniques associated with lean manufacturing are discussed below.

Workplace organization and visual management:

An organized workplace is one that complies with the ?30-second rule.? This rule states that anyone should be able to find anything within 30 seconds. The ?5S? system of workplace organization (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain) emphasizes removal of what is not used and employment of shadow boards, signs, areas boundaries, and labels to help everyone find what is used.

Quick changeover:

Changeover time can be defined as the time from the completion of the last good piece of one job to the first good piece of the next job. The main components of changeover time are preparation of the work area, paperwork, materials, tools etc.; removal and mounting of parts, tools, fixtures and equipment; measuring and setting the equipment; and making trial pieces and adjusting where necessary. By watching and analyzing current changeover procedures, it is possible to learn ways to reduce each of the components and minimize equipment down time during the process.

Point-of-use storage of parts:

This means that every part needed to do a job is stored in the area that uses it. This technique offers reduced search time, minimal travel and material handling, and simplified storage.

Quality at source:

This means that employees are certain that the products they are sending to the next workstation are correct. Gauges, tools, and other inspection equipment can help employees to attain such certainty.

Standardized work procedures:

This means that tasks are organized in the best sequence to ensure products are being made the best way every time. Standardized work procedures bring consistency to the workplace and, therefore, should be documented.

These and other techniques such as cellular manufacturing, in which all the resources required to complete the product are grouped in the most effective combination instead of grouping the similar machines together as is done in traditional manufacturing, help the manufacturer improve their overall operations.

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Source by Kent Pinkerton

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