How to Implement a Lean Manufacturing Process

October 21, 2020

These days, manufacturers in virtually every industry must work harder and more efficiently than ever to remain competitive. Primary focus areas for many manufacturers include eliminating waste, optimizing processes, reducing costs, getting products to market faster and making innovation a top priority. Implementing lean manufacturing is one way that businesses can accomplish these objectives.

What Is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing is a production method based on the Toyota Production System, a process developed by the Japanese automaker Toyota in the 1930s. John Krafcik, currently the CEO at Waymo, first used the term “lean” to describe the technique in the 1980s. The focus of lean is to reduce waste in a manufacturing system without sacrificing productivity. Its foundational concepts are continuous and incremental improvements in the areas of product and process and eliminating repetitive activities.

Types of Waste That Are Reduced With Lean Manufacturing

Companies that adhere to lean manufacturing principles attempt to reduce or eliminate the following types of waste in their production processes:

  • Transport: Material movement that doesn’t support immediate production.
  • Inventory: Supply that exceeds what is necessary to produce goods in a just-in-time inventory environment.
  • Motion: Movement of people that doesn’t add value to the product.
  • Waiting: Idle time resulting from the lack of synchronization of codependent events.
  • Overproduction: Producing more than is needed, or faster or before it is needed.
  • Overprocessing: Redundancy in production or communication that doesn’t add value to the product.
  • Defects: Loss of value due to scrap, rework or repairs.
  • Underutilized talent: Failure to maximize the abilities of employees engaged in the production process.

Ways to Implement Lean Manufacturing Principles

Companies that implement lean manufacturing successfully adhere to a set of best practices:

  • Develop methodologies for integrating the waste reduction concepts listed above into their manufacturing processes.
  • Make continuous improvement a primary focus in all daily and long-term planning activities.
  • Improve organization by utilizing the “5S” methodology, which consists of sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain.
  • Ensure safety in the workplace is a top priority.
  • Use metrics to track all manufacturing processes and detect issues that could lead to significant financial or physical damage.

Benefits of Outsourcing Lean Manufacturing

Some manufacturers face challenges when implementing lean manufacturing into their production processes. They may lack the in-house resources or expertise, or the transition is too difficult to accomplish without substantial disruptions to their operations. These organizations can benefit from partnering with an outsourcing manufacturer with extensive lean manufacturing experience.

Streamline Your Manufacturing Process and Reduce Costs with Fairlawn Tool

Fairlawn Tool, Inc. is a single-source supplier for contract metal fabrication in industries such as agriculture, construction, military and defense, consumer products and telecommunications. Outsourcing lean manufacturing to us can be more cost-effective than attempting to implement these practices in-house. We have the expertise and resources to combat lean waste in areas such as transport, waiting, overprocessing, underutilized talent and defects. We can deliver faster, more efficient results that have a positive impact on your business’s bottom line.

Contact us today to learn more about our lean manufacturing capabilities.

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