Capitalizing On Lean Manufacturing ConceptsSource: Quadro Engineering Corp.
By Mimi Panagiotou – CTO
The concept of Lean Manufacturing has been growing in popularity in the manufacturing world for the past several years. Driven by several factors including a slowing U.S. economy, rising costs of input materials, an increase in rationalization of production facilities, and the influx of inexpensive products from overseas, manufacturers are embracing the premise of Lean Thinking to ensure their own survival.
Liquid Processors have been especially susceptible to these external forces. Rising material costs coupled with cutbacks in engineering resources and overloaded work schedules have manufacturers turning to their equipment suppliers to help them develop and implement processes that take advantage of the benefits that can be derive from implementing the principles of Lean Manufacturing. In this paper, we will review the concepts of Lean Manufacturing and some solutions that are readily available to help manufacturers achieve the benefits of this concept.
Lean manufacturing is a generic process management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System (TPS). James Womack, in his book entitled Lean Thinking, identifies five basic principles of lean manufacturing
- Understanding Customer Value. Only what your customers perceive as value is important.
- Value Stream Analysis. Once you understand the value that you deliver to your customers, you need to analyze all the steps in your business processes to determine which ones actually add value.
- Flow. Instead of moving the product from one work center to the next in large batches, production should flow continuously from raw materials to finished goods in dedicated production cells.
- Pull. Rather than building goods to stock, customer demand pulls finished goods through the system. Work is not performed unless the part is required downstream.
- Perfection. Elimination of waste from the process and flow product continuously according to the demands of your customer reduces time, cost, space, mistakes, and effort.