Lean manufacturing is a way to strategically optimize and simplify the way an enterprise works, and its environment. It is also an effective way of reducing and managing existing waste within an enterprise.
But how can manufacturers effectively maximize lean manufacturing in order to reduce waste in their companies? How can they recognize the onset of waste? And what are some measures manufacturers can take to decrease waste within their production facilities and organizations?
Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your company or workplace is reducing waste effectively and embracing lean manufacturing.
Understand the Value of Your End Product
You want to reduce waste and be as efficient as possible, but in order to do this, you need to first place value on your end product. It comes down to a basic rule: know your customers and identify their greatest need.
That way, you ensure you are creating quality products that your customers are willing to pay for, while minimizing the resources wasted during the process of producing it.
Managers need to be trained in how to deal with problematic employees. Their training should tackle how to make better decisions, how to lead as well as follow instructions, and how to stay updated as well as improved on every level. Your managers should be willing to make changes, learn new programs, use new machines that are cost effective, and improve their understanding of the workplace and your products.
Training, however, doesn’t stop at the management level. It should then extend to all employees.
For example, train your employees on how to improve their interactions with customers so they can bring in more quality to your company overall.
Classify the Types of Waste
If the big picture is too overwhelming, break down your waste into smaller categories:
- Inventory Waste: List only what you need and make sure that overhead costs don’t include items that are outdated or of no use to you any longer.
- Overproduction Waste: It can be easy to overestimate production numbers. Identifying overproduction waste may be a process of trial and error, but you’ll get to your goals in time.
- Waste of Time and Manpower: When big mistakes are made, resources are wasted. To make sure your workers are reaching their full potential, invest in quality training programs that build efficiency within your teams and result in higher employee retention rates.
- In-House Machine Waste and Production Process Waste: Part of the training mentioned above should encompass specialized programs to teach employees how to use the machines efficiently, saving cost and time, and adding value to the product.
- Defect Waste: Learn to identify common mistakes and make everyone aware of them so that the mistakes do not occur consistently. This gets everyone on the same page and following a set standard of quality production and creation.
Identify Workplace Waste
Part of reducing waste during the manufacturing process is being able to better identify problems and solve them quickly, or before they have a chance to damage production on a larger scale.
Small, consistent, and continuous checks, as well as minor improvements, will lead to a greater end product. Make sure all machines get regular tune-ups, big fixes, and upgrades if and when necessary. It is possible to achieve improvement by taking small steps at a time while making greater progress overall.
Create Your Manufacturing Workflow
Visualizing the step-by-step process of lean manufacturing can help to create an accessible workflow in your manufacturing environment. You will have to analyze all the waste points listed above, and create a working plan based on that analysis.
One of the main principles of lean manufacturing is to establish a continuous and synchronized production flow. Ask yourself and your employees: What is the root cause of such-and-such a problem? What practical steps are we taking to reduce, minimize, and eventually eliminate these waste factors?
Train Your Employees
By answering the questions above, you may realize that certain employees are responsible for the wasted time, money, and even an accelerated depreciation of equipment. So this next step must tackle workplace efficiency.
In order to deal with workplace waste or wasteful employees, you must invest in training strategies that help educate your employees about the types of waste that everyone should watch out for. Training sessions can also help boost employee satisfaction and value. Try these tips from technical trainer, Peter Burdon, on how Siemens measures the impact of training with smile and evaluation sheets.
One core value of lean manufacturing is proper inventory management. Professionals suggest just-in-time inventories, a process of only stocking resources and tools in the time you need them, rather than beforehand. In-depth analysis of inventory needs will reduce manufacturing waste from the very beginning.
Ensure Lasting Workplace Efficiency Through Lean Management
Are all of these changes really necessary? It may seem daunting at first, but the end goal is to eliminate most of the hiccup phases. Your goal should be continuous improvement of your manufacturing process.
Envision yourself and your company eliminating the need to make irregular changes every so often. Move ahead with a clear goal in mind: making sustainable changes — no matter how small — that will result in high-value end products. It’s the only way to thrive, grow and function as a successful enterprise.
Our production facilities employ lean manufacturing practices. Find out why other manufacturers choose to partner with us in this booklet.