Beginner’s Guide to Lean Production
Lean Production is continuous improvement management approach that narrows its focus down towards elimination of Muda which means wastages that are produced during manufacturing processes. Waste can be defined as any activity that has no value addition for the end consumer. According to various surveys and studies, it has been concluded that about 60% of the activities that are done during manufacturing processes are nothing than complete waste and got no value addition for the organization or the customer.
Lean Production Categorization of Waste
Waste has never been a generic term in Toyota Production system. In order to eliminate waste, it is important to identify which type of waste exist in your manufacturing supply chain. Generally, waste exist in seven types which are:
- Overproduction Against Actual Production Plan
- Long Waiting Time Of Operators and Machines
- Unnecessary Transportation
- Waste produced during the production process
- Excess stock of material and components
- Non-value added motion
- Defects in Product’s Quality
Exploring Lean Manufacturing Way to the Core
Let’s drill down the philosophy of Lean production and understand the usage of top five Lean tools that helps to eliminate waste completely from the production chain.
Top Five Proven Tools for Lean Manufacturing
- 5S Methodology
5S is all about organizing the workplace and making it clutter free to reduce time to search or reach desired components in workplace. 5S consists of five S which are:
- Sort (Separating the wanted and unwanted components)
- Set In Order (Organize Remaining Items)
- Shine (Clean the items)
- Standardize (Mention Standards for Items)
- Sustain (Regularly monitor if the applied standards are getting deviated or not)
- Bottleneck Analysis
Any part of the process that limits the efficiency of overall throughput and restricts the performance of the production cycle. Lean methodology implementation helps to fix the weakest process step that is impeding overall process efficiency.
Jidoka is the process that helps to design the equipment to partially automate the manufacturing process and quality control system in case of any defects detection so that the production can be stopped at right times thus leading to waste reduction and defect free high quality product.
- Poka Yoke
Poka-Yoke is also known as error-proofing and defects prevention with the aim of achieving zero defects and with zero wastages making the manufacturing process more efficient.
SMED stands for Single Minute Exchange of Dies which focuses on the reduction of production variants changeover times to less than ten minutes of time leading to a reduction in waiting times.
Where Manufacturing Process Waste Comes From?
Wastages produced during any manufacturing is actually derived from production losses which are quantified into following forms:
- Major Stoppages (Breakdowns)
- Minor Stoppages
- Speed Loss
- Startups and Shut downs
- Defected Product with sub-standard quality
Lean Manufacturing Benefits that will Motivate You Today!
Lean manufacturing brings many uncountable benefits that can provide threefold boost to profit margins. Brace yourself as untold advantages of Lean manufacturing are going to reveal themselves:
- Improved Product Quality
High quality is what Lean manufacturing offers. As waste production gets reduced, the quantity of defected products decreased automatically the product quality gets a heads up boost making your manufacturing process more customer friendly.
- Better Workplace Visual Management
Sight management is a tool which is getting more popularity among shop floor people as it has banished the language barrier. Visual management gets a long way to detect human safety hazards, product quality defects before it actually happens and that save yourself from producing waste products that are no longer good to deliver to market shelves to sell.
- Enhanced Product Efficiency
Getting work done in standardized form will help to keep your process on desired parameters hence lowering the chances of deviation of product quality. Please keep in consideration that deviated product quality will cause more amount of waste or rework. Rework in production leads to increase in production cycle time which will again cost energy charges like electricity consumption or water utilization depending on the type of manufacturing process.
- Discovering Hidden Employees’ Potential
Lean production encompasses to all team members associated with the specific organization. Plus Lean manufacturing cannot be done in conference rooms or air conditioned offices instead it has to be done, implemented and sustained to the shop floor where actual action occurs and where the actual problems with their root cause exist.
- More Safer Workplace
Visual workplace management like 5S will enhance visual workplace management making workplace more visible towards potential hazards. Once all the potential hazards being identified, it becomes easier to eliminate or substitute the hazards with safest solutions.
Challenges You Might Face During Lean Production Implementation
Any change to be implemented in workplace often tends to be faced by concerns, reservations and sometimes denial. Lean production comes with few challenges which one shouldn’t be afraid of:
Change comes with hardcore resistance, especially from old school people. Adaptability is a characteristic that few people possess. Being comfortable in an existing place is sometimes people will love to reside in and they fear the change. Often people see lean methodology as an additional burden or more responsibility. Here it comes leadership’s responsibility to positively and constructively engage the workforce and make them realize that producing goods in accordance with lean methodology is no evil thing. In fact, the lean methodology will help to ease their additional burdens by making their day to day easier and efficient.
- Initial Additional Workforce Requirement
During some baby steps towards implementation of lean methodology, you may require some more labor workforce that you need to dedicate towards the implementation of lean manufacturing only. They might require your support to free themselves from day to day tasks and redirect their focus and energies towards the successful implementation of lean methods.
It might happen that you require additional cost to fix the issues while coming in the way of lean production. Identifying the root cause will not incur any additional cost but fixing the actual root cause might require some design modification, replacement of equipment, installation of some new or more sensitive detection system, installation of a rejection system that can error-proof your existing manufacturing processes. Please keep in consideration the fact that the cost will be just a fixed cost in most of the cases and help to restrict reoccurring problems that might increase your product wastages or product defects leading to big customer complaints and potential unrecoverable damage to the brand value and reputation.