CONTINUING IMPROVEMENT IN LEAN MANFACTURING
Lean manufacturing lets you achieve high rates of customer satisfaction while controlling waste. Applying the methods of continuing, incremental improvements in the manufacturing process identifies problems that affect quality and efficiency. When you apply the principles of lean manufacturing to these problems, your manufacturing operations should be more efficient. The resulting reduction in costs can lead to improved profitability for the company.
Defects in manufactured products are costly to fix, because you have to scrap the defective product or re-manufacture it, disrupting the production process. Lean manufacturing methods aim for a zero-defect result by implementing tracking of defects, finding their causes and instituting remedial action. Detailed checking of incoming materials, quality control of purchased parts and rigorous testing of finished products help detect defects and their sources. Employees responsible for quality make changes to the production line processes to eliminate errors and remove the causes of defects. They apply this method of defect reduction on a continuous basis.
Reducing Waiting Times
Many production lines have parallel functions operating simultaneously but taking different amounts of time. The differing duration results in waiting times at the completion of the function taking less time. For example, a company manufacturing filing cabinets might produce the drawers and cabinets in parallel. If the cabinets take less time to produce, they have to wait for the drawers to be finished before the complete unit can be assembled. Lean manufacturing methods identify such waiting times and adjust the manufacturing processes, typically by adding workers or equipment to the slower line. Both functions then finish simultaneously and total production time is less.
Lean manufacturing uses just-in-time deliveries to keep inventory to a minimum. The principle of continuing improvement tries to achieve the ideal situation in which suppliers deliver material just as the production line is ready for it. In the ideal, the product comes off the production line just as a customer orders it. Companies implementing lean manufacturing with this ideal as their goal continually improve communication between marketing, production and suppliers. They eliminate bottlenecks and look for causes of delays so they can make the required changes.
A key factor in continually improving lean manufacturing is reducing waste. Wasted materials are related to both the manufacturing process and product design. Often, product design features leading to wasted material are not obvious until the product goes to manufacturing. Lean manufacturing methods focus on such waste and introduce changes in design and production. Typical waste reduction principles for these methods are to use single pieces of raw material for single components instead of making two components and joining them, reducing cutting and machining to a minimum, and reusing material where possible.
Daniel Cullinane CPA
25 Plaza 5 25th fl Jersey City NJ phone 732-516-1648 fax 732-516-9778
2500 Plaza 5 25th fl Jersey City NJ 07311 phone 732-516-1648 fax 732-516-9778
Copyright © Daniel Cullinane CPA.