Can you reduce a manufacturing system’s waste without sacrificing productivity and quality? This is the goal of lean manufacturing, an efficient production method utilized by many companies to eliminate anything that does not add value to the manufacturing process. We utilize this concept at American Products Contract Manufacturing (APCM) to streamline our procedures, making them more effective and less wasteful. With commitment from the entire team and a thorough understanding of lean manufacturing principles – value, value stream, flow, pull, and perfection – this management philosophy can boost efficiency, employee morale, and customer satisfaction.
Lean Manufacturing Principles
The idea of lean manufacturing was created by Toyota, but it has since been embraced by manufacturers around the world. The five lean manufacturing principles, which focus on waste elimination and continuous improvement, guide any company utilizing this process. If you’re curious how lean manufacturing works or you’re hoping to use it at your own company, you will need to explore these key concepts.
First, you need to ponder the value your company provides its customers. What do customers appreciate about your products or services? What specific features are your customers willing to pay for? What valuable elements lie at the core of your company? Only consider value from the customer perspective.
Now that you’ve identified the value in your company, pinpoint which processes and materials are integral to the delivery of that value; they make up the value stream. The value stream should be an efficient, bare-bones procedure. You may want to draw a map of the value stream, depicting how raw materials flow through the manufacturing process to create the final product. Eliminate anything that causes a delay or produces a dispensable feature. Basically, if it doesn’t add value, get rid of it!
Once you identify the critical steps in your value stream, they need to be placed in sequence. A smooth progression through the production will help your product flow easily to your customer. At this stage, focus on building a ceaseless, synchronized production method. Try to remove any interruptions, delays, or bottlenecks, creating a tight and efficient sequence of steps.
Sometimes companies have a lot of stockpiled inventory or their forecast for production is incorrect, creating waste. The idea of “pull” is that production should ideally begin when the customer places an order, improving the time-to-market or time-to-customer delivery. Of course, this doesn’t work in all situations. But if possible, try to create an on-demand schedule so that you don’t waste your time creating products that won’t sell.
Even if you believe that perfection is impossible, you should always strive toward perfection. Continually look for opportunities for improvement, taking time to focus on each of the lean manufacturing principles. Whenever you can identify and remove issues or waste from the production process, you take a step forward. Don’t assume that because you’ve taken your production through the lean manufacturing process, it is now perfect. Each time you reapply these principles, you will likely identify at least one element of waste.
Lean manufacturing assists everyone involved: the manufacturing company, the employees, and the customers. By eliminating waste and focusing on value, the manufacturer can boost their revenue. The employees, who no longer have to complete unnecessary tasks, will feel more useful and may enjoy better morale. And customer satisfaction should increase, because customers will only be paying for the valuable features that they want – not waste. You can even apply lean manufacturing principles to your customer service procedures, removing delays, mistakes, and inconveniences.
Encourage your entire manufacturing team to take part in the process. A collaborative effort will provide best results, as employees that work at different production stages can identify different elements of waste. With dedication, persistence, and a ruthless eye for details, you and your team can create a leaner, better manufacturing process.
If you’re on the hunt for a company that can manufacture premium metal enclosures on your behalf, check out American Products Contract Manufacturing. APCM’s highly trained team adheres to LEAN manufacturing principles and works with state-of-the-art equipment. Our high-quality, innovative enclosures enable our customers to assist the telecommunications industry in expanding and improving their network services. We offer NEMA type 1, type 2, type 3, type 3-R, type 3-X, type 4, and type 4-X metal enclosures, and we form these enclosures from aluminum, galvanized steel, carbon steel, and stainless steel to create a rugged and reliable structure. Give us a call at 1-877-736-2228 to learn more, or request a free quote online.