Lean Manufacturing is a methodology that originated in Japan, given the post-World War II scenario. In free translation, it means lean manufacturing and comes at a time when factories were struggling. Its goal is to reorganize work structures to ensure better efficiency and greater productivity through environment modification, activity planning and inventory organization. With this methodology implemented, waste costs are reduced, making Lean Manufacturing a reference of a company's proper functioning. Knowing that we live in an increasingly globalized market, putting lean manufacturing into practice is essential for companies to perform better.
What is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean Manufacturing is a form of management where the goal is to increase production due to improvements in the process while adding more value to customers, because the amount of resources needed for production aims to avoid or eliminate waste entirely, improving the quality of products and reducing production time and cost. For this, some tools are used to eliminate waste that can happen in production chains, whether it is materials or time on the assembly line. A common practice is to keep stocks lean, since producing on demand does not require spending on storage spaces. When there is not much knowledge about Lean Manufacturing, it is common to think that the quality of production and products can be impaired due to increased productivity. However, one of the priorities of lean philosophy is to maintain high quality standards. Executors are prepared to resolve production errors at the time of execution at the slightest failure signal rather than waiting for the production process to finish to hold the conference. The central point of the method, then, is to maximize customer value, reducing any waste. A production that adopts Lean Manufacturing knows how to study the value of customers and knows what are its main processes, whenever possible, add value to them. To do this, you need to shift the focus from point optimization to a stream that has more value from start to finish. With the end of waste throughout the entire production flow results in processes with less human effort, less space occupation, less need for capital and products made in the least possible time. Thus, there are fewer costs and lower incidence of defects when compared to conventional production lines. In this way, it is possible for an organization to enter the market with greater competitiveness and reach the consumer with high quality, lower costs and much faster processing and manufacturing time.
What are the advantages of Lean Manufacturing?
Earn more from available resources
When a company manufactures or supplies defective products, there is a large chain of rework. The same is true of deliveries that generate customer dissatisfaction. In addition, both cases cause rework, one of the biggest nuisances for companies, because it is responsible for waste of labor and material, which are crucial for the operation of an industry and, when optimized, ensure greater return and financial use.
Add value to the customer
The lean structure that lean manufacturing implementation ensures more efficiency in the context of delivering benefits to consumers. By Lean thought, if an item or factor does not bring anything good to the consumer, it should not even be part of the production flow. Thus, by listing everything that is essential to the company, the next step is to expose these factors in an efficient and profitable way, which generates the standardization of production. In turn, standardization results in more reliable processes, also influencing customer confidence, since the high standard is delivered in the final product. A consumer trusts what they consume based on the quality of what they receive, whether products or services. Products that are defective or different from your expectation may generate dissatisfaction that will cause a possible demand for competition.
What is waste for Lean?
Lean Manufacturing has some items that it considers as waste in companies. Several of them are directly linked and, if a single waste occurs, a chain generation happens, compromising the entire production structure. Thus, the methodology considers any activity that is not valued from the perspective of customers. Using lean manufacturing, any company is able to observe and decrease its waste and perform better in the market.
The 8 Wastes for Lean Manufacturing
When a process has some failure, it ends up resulting in defects in a product or poor delivery of a service and each of these failures generates a correction cost, just as any rework is expensive, which could be avoided if quality was present from the beginning. The CEP, or Statistical Process Control, is a resource adopted to prevent these situations rather than passing through them. With inspections and process control, defects can be avoided.
Overproduction happens when processes generate much more products than demand, generating inventory and consuming company resources – labor, raw materials and various other resources. By avoiding overproduction with a production more aligned with the demands, the Lean method avoids production to accumulate inventory.
Unnecessary processes, as seen above, are all those that make no difference from the perspective of customers, such as reports and bureaucracies that are not directly linked to production efficiency. One way to avoid such waste is to use MFV, or Value Stream Mapping, a tool that is able to detect processes that make no sense to the institution, seeking those that add value to consumers.
Transportation-related waste occurs when the movement of materials or people is done in an unnecessary way. Production lines, maintenance and supervision processes need to be structured so as not to require movements that generate a cost of time. The SLP method, Systematic Layout Planning, when used, is able to reduce waste generated by transportation and approximates related processes and activities.
Very similar to transportation waste, unnecessary movement is related to employees' activities. The search for tools, having to dodge obstacles and the need to go from one point to another when performing tasks are a waste by lean manufacturing logic. The concern with the economy and the study of Times and Movements in jobs are great resources to identify waste of this order.
Material and product inventories can cause storage costs and pose a risk of deterioration. Both need to be reduced only to quantities necessary for the operation of the processes.
It involves the potential of company resources that are not used because of idleness. Employees expecting delays from other sectors, production lines down due to lack of material and underused equipment cause waste by waiting.
The knowledge of employees
The waste of knowledge is considered the eighth waste of Lean Manufacturing and occurs when human capital is not used in a total way, wasting potential and skills of employees. Listening to the ideas of the employees makes the processes be improved, since they are the ones who are there observing the progress of the production constantly, besides stimulating and motivating their productivity.
Where can Lean Manufacturing be applied?
Companies that aim for a higher profit
As waste expenses will decrease, consequently profits can increase.
Quality is related to the standardization of internal processes. Both can be achieved when there is greater accuracy between steps, ensuring a better end-of-date customer experience.
Stock ahead of demand
Lean Manufacturing takes the culture of maintaining only what is essential. A production that accumulates inventories does not convert what invests in profits and does not survive in the current market.
Lean Manufacturing optimization is to produce more, with more quality, in less time. Withdrawing from production what is not necessary guarantees all this. Jobs that do not convert, move and rework are good examples of what should be reviewed in the company.
Lack of engagement
Lean manufacturing sees employees as essential to the production process. Thus, this vision needs to exist within a corporation and be transmitted to work teams as a motivating asset.
Desire for growth
With the implementation and use of Lean Manufacturing, a company can reallocate the capital it invests in flawed processes as an injection into the institution's growth. More organization and better structure are also guaranteed benefits with the methodology.
Learn more about Lean Manufacturing with SANMobile
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