It’s no secret that lean manufacturing has become an incredibly hot topic among operations executives and manufacturing firms. When a production process reduces waste, uses small stockpiles of assembly line inventory, and implements immediate quality checks it is called lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing was developed by Sakichi Toyoda which was used in his son’s auto company (Toyota) and was soon adopted by the global industrial market.
Manufacturers have learned that by employing Toyoda’s strategy they can not only save money by eliminating waste, but they can bring the best possible quality to the customer by constantly checking for defects and increasing productivity.
But how do you achieve lean manufacturing in your own factory? Here are five strategies to create the highest quality product with the smallest amount of inventory:
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1. Map out your current production process, from suppliers to customers, and analyze the flow of materials and information. Are there any employees, areas of your factory, or excess inventory that do not add value to the process?
2. Train your assembly line workers and motivate them to strive for perfection with zero product defects. When defects are detected, identify the problem and make necessary changes before restarting production.
3. Reduce inventory to increase capital. Having small amounts of materials delivered several times a week instead of once a month can help free up valuable space and alleviate cumbersome tracking efforts.
4. Utilize the kanban system of pulling the materials through production by only producing amounts that create value for the customer and sending internal signals when inventory is needed.
5. Expand your lean principles into all facets of your business by implementing the strategies in your office procedures and streamlining communication with suppliers and exporters.
6. Share your performance measurements and goals to the entire facility by posting missed defects, productivity timetables and necessary improvements. Be sure to also reward employees for increased productivity.
Utilizing lean manufacturing can eliminate waste, reduce product defects, and ultimately increase productivity. By implementing strategies such as mapping out production flow, motivating assembly line workers, and sharing performance measurements your manufacturing business can achieve the benefits of lean manufacturing.