Lean Manufacturing

I was recently introduced to the concept of lean manufacturing (or just-in-time manufacturing, JIT). The overall concept is to eliminate all wastes in your business which can include any processes, inventory, and motion. A number of companies are able to transform an unviable product into a viable one by adopting the lean manufacturing method.

Here is a great study about lean manufacturing, excerpt below: Lean Manufacturing

For industrial companies, this could involve any of the following:

  • Material: convert all raw materials in to end products. Try to avoid excess raw materials and scrap.
  • Inventory: keep constant flow to the customer and to not have idle material.
  • Over production: produce the exact quantity that customers need, and when they need it.
  • Labor: Get rid of unwanted movement of people.
  • Complexity: Try to solve problems the uncomplicated way rather than the complex

    way. Complex solutions tend to produce more waste and are harder for people to

    manage.

  • Energy: utilize equipment and people in the most productive ways. Avoid

    unproductive operations and excess power utilization.

  • Space: Reorganize equipment, people, and workstations to get a better space

    arrangement.

  • Defects: make every effort to eliminate defects
  • Transportation: Get rids of transportation of materials and information that does not

    add value to the product.

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  • Time: Avoid long set ups, delays, and unexpected machine down time.
  • Unnecessary motion: Avoid excess bending or stretching and frequently lost items.

    In general all of these wastes are categorized into seven major types and it is summarized in table 2.1 [3, 5, 12, 13, 17].

    Table 2. 1 The seven categories of waste

Waste

Description

1) Over production

Producing to much or too soon, resulting in poor flow of information or goods and excess inventory

2) Defects

Frequent errors in paper work, product quality problems, or poor delivery performance.

3) Unnecessary inventory

Excessive storage and delay of information or products, resulting in excessive cost and poor customer service

4) Inappropriate processing

Going about work processing using the wrong set of tools, procedures or systems, often when a simpler approach may be more effective

5) Excessive transportation

Excessive movement of people, information or goods resulting in wasted time, effort and cost.

6) W aiting

Long periods of inactivity for people, information or goods, resulting in poor flow and long lead times

7) Unnecessary motion

Poor workplace organization, resulting in poor ergonomics, e.g. excessive bending or stretching and frequently lost items

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