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Lean Manufacturing: Principles and Systems

Graham Immerman
April 17, 2017

In order to stay agile and responsive in today’s demanding marketplace, savvy manufacturing companies are making sure they know what goes into creating an efficient lean process so that they can keep pace with the competition.

In order to stay agile and responsive in today’s demanding marketplace, savvy manufacturing companies are making sure they know what goes into creating an efficient lean process so that they can keep pace with the competition.

A starting place for many is introducing and implementing a 5S program - a basic lean manufacturing strategy designed to improve workplace efficiency through facility-wide organization and cleanliness.

A basic 5S strategy includes the following 5 principles:

  • Sort: Sort out & separate that which is needed & not needed in the area.
  • Straighten: Arrange items that are needed so that they are ready & easy to use. Clearly identify locations for all items so that anyone can find them & return them once the task is completed.
  • Shine: Clean the workplace & equipment on a regular basis in order to maintain standards & identify defects.
  • Standardise: Revisit the first three of the 5S on a frequent basis and confirm the condition of the Gemba using standard procedures.
  • Sustain: Keep to the rules to maintain the standard & continue to improve every day.

Lean Manufacturing Systems:

Setting the stage for a lean process is just the first step, but implementing a system that allows you to maximize your manufacturing productivity results will take your lean model to the next level.

Lean manufacturing systems typically focus on reducing waste and controlling inventory. The goal of lean manufacturing is continuous improvement of production processes, while eliminating waste and cutting costs. Many manufacturing software systems (otherwise known as MES) that either schedule jobs and/or track shop-floor metrics like overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) in real time can provide manufacturers the necessary tools to help achieve their lean manufacturing objectives.

Without collecting and analyzing factory data, manufacturing managers are blind to problems occurring on the plant floor. Machine monitoring systems can contain a wealth of information about the health of the factory, but many operations simply haven’t invested in them—even though those systems are becoming more available and cost-effective.

Why This Matters To You:

In short, an MES gives you active control of your lean manufacturing process.

Not only can you quickly identify and eliminate productivity drains in your existing production process, you also gain access to additional data that can help you uncover “hidden” issues that could be negatively impacting your shop.

Should any problems arise with your machines, you can be on it immediately.

A lean process that combines a lean culture and mindset with technology tools that allow you to listen to your machines will provide you with a sustainable system - without overwhelming your IT department.

Want to learn more about how machine monitoring can help your company stay lean? Click Learn More Below:

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