Purpose and Benefits of Implementing Lean Manufacturing
participants to my conferences and presentations have asked me to explain:
"What would be the main purpose or benefit for my company to Implement
answer is always one simple word: "Survival."
each of the Lean Manufacturing Strategies provides a set of solutions to the
most common traditional problems manufacturers and services providers face
every day. Unfortunately there has been a terrible misunderstanding of this
pseudo-"experts" see Lean Manufacturing as a complex set of tools
and disciplines that need to be implemented as a "package." This
false assumption has caused some companies to embark into enormous burdensome,
slow, and costly efforts with little ROI - Return On Investment. So here we
would like to address the fact that nobody needs to go into "deep
sea" in order to enjoy swimming. Not even Toyota has ever applied all
the disciplines in all of their areas or operations. We strongly recommend that each
case be treated with the uniqueness it deserves so any effort pays back big
time and ASAP. Perhaps that is the best skill a good consultant must provide
to the customer.
know many companies have been healthy and wealthy for a Century or more.
Good administration, nice niche in the Marketplace, people need their
product, few or no competitors... though we will find fewer of
those privileged situations all the time.
reality today is quite different. We are seeing the American Automobile
Industry literally vanishing in front of our eyes. The same happened already
to many other industries where American companies were in the pinnacle of Global
So the near
future will only support those who are willing to learn new tricks and open
to mindset adjustments as we have analyzed in many other of our
purpose of Lean Manufacturing
as many spectacular innovations, the
initial movement of Toyota was triggered by limitation of resources. The
first resource that showed to be quite scarce in Japan is "Real
Estate", so actions were taken to minimize the need for space in the
work stations. They discovered for example that more than 50% of the space
in the traditional manufacturing operation at most manufacturing facilities
in America and all over the world is used by parts, materials, tools,
boxes, pallets, and other objects that do not have any practical and
immediate use in the station.
presence of such unneeded items is definitely a barrier to efficiency and
the reason for most Lean Manufacturing Implementations will begin with The
Classic of Classics: 5S
this time we will start by creating a Culture in all the associates
(including Management of course), so the old principle of assuring
production by accumulating raw materials in the workplace is now gone. The
remedy: JIT -
Just in Time, a
timely logistics process to bring into each area only the materials and
parts required for a smooth short-period of operation. JIT is the accurate
supply of the right items at the right time in the amount needed in the
right spot. This drastically diverts from the traditional concepts of:
centralized "warehouses", tool rooms, piles-ups or large
boxes of components, operators running all over the place trying to get
their tools, parts, and materials and sometimes having a hard time to find
course JIT is not always the solution. It works very well in assembly lines
like the automobile, furniture, appliances, and electronics industries. Some
garment factories have started to implement it as well.
requires the coordination of efforts from the supply chain and to that
purpose the relationship is transformed from the traditional
"customer-supplier" to an authentic "partnership", and
it is not an easy task to develop such transformation, though with time, everybody
benefits from the new way of doing business.
characteristic of this transformation is the POUS Point of Use Storage. This
process germinated from the observation that the Japanese did at a Safeway
supermarket in the late 70's of the past Century. It consists of the
immediate reward after a good JIT process is established is the drastic
reduction of inventory and its faster turn around! It is typical to bring
business that had in average one or less turns of inventory per year to a
several times per month turns! Of course this is tied to the sources of
material. Now a days there are so many imports that it is difficult to
schedule a precision delivery schedule for them.
it is critical for every associate at all levels to understand that
Inventory Is NOT Wealth, as it was the belief in the past. Inventory is a
tremendous burden. We must think "supermarket" here. Our business
is to utilize, assemble, transform the materials but not possessing them.
Many Lean companies are getting to understand this and using consignation
deals with more frequency all the time. Here is where the good relationship
with the suppliers comes very handy. Toyota has reached unbelievable deals
through mutual loyalty with their supply partners. Some of them have
increased the level of service to the point that they perform several
deliveries per day in the point of use of the parts and materials.
are seeing now more purpose for the Lean Manufacturing implementation,
right? The advantages and benefits are equally obvious.
will keep adding to this site some new articles to explain all the other
strategies, meanwhile I would recommend that you use our Google Search Boxes in most of our pages to find the subjects of your interest...