In a context of great competitiveness, companies try to minimize costs in order to operate with a higher margin and, at the same time, offer better value for money to customers. For this purpose, in the field of production, the so-called lean manufacturing or also known as lean manufacturing has been developed.
So what is lean manufacturing? It is a set of tools that will help you eliminate all operations that do not add value to the product, service and processes, increasing the value of each activity carried out and eliminating what is not required. Reduce waste and improve operations, always based on respect for the worker.
Lean manufacturing was born in Japan and was conceived by the great “gurus of the Toyota Production System.” The Flexible Manufacturing or Lean Manufacturing system has been defined as a philosophy of manufacturing excellence, based on:
- The planned disposal of all types of waste
- Respect for the worker: Kaizen
- Consistent improvement of Productivity and Quality
Lean Manufacturing Goals
The main objectives of Lean Manufacturing is to implement a philosophy of Continuous Improvement that allows companies to reduce costs, improve processes and eliminate waste to increase customer satisfaction and maintain profit margin.
Lean Manufacturing provides companies with tools to survive in a global market that demands higher quality, faster delivery at a lower price and in the required quantity.
- Reduce the waste chain dramatically.
- Reduce inventory and shop floor space.
- Create more robust production systems.
- Generate appropriate material delivery systems.
- Improve plant layouts to increase flexibility.
How does the ‘lean manufacturing’ or lean manufacturing work?
In order to successfully implement a lean manufacturing strategy, it is essential to act according to the following criteria:
Maximum coordination between departments
In order to reduce production times, it is essential that the information circulates quickly and correctly among all the agents that participate in the production process. In the same way, those responsible for each section must agree on strategies and control the correct implementation on their plot.
Production according to demand
The company produces according to what the potential public demands. In this way, it is avoided to produce more than necessary and the cost of the materials to be supplied is minimized.
Ability to adapt to changes
Since the processes are not fixed, in case there is some kind of change in customer preferences, adaptability to the new process is fast.
Closing long-term agreements with suppliers
The main risk of producing according to demand is suffering some kind of stock break and not being able to offer the product to the customer within the agreed term. To minimize this risk, it is important to establish long-lasting and stable relationships with suppliers that have shown the ability to adapt, too, to a possible changing demand.
Continuous study of processes
Those responsible must study all the steps to complete their process and study if it is possible to make some kind of improvement that improves productivity even more.
Need for continuous training
If the processes change, the tasks to be performed by the employees, too. For this, it is essential to have teams made up of versatile people with motivation and willingness to learn.