Lean manufacturing is a systematic method aimed at improving production efficiency. It does so by reducing waste without affecting quality. Lean methodologies are considered successful for companies, and implementing them can bring major advantages.
Hence, we try to analyze three fundamental best practices for great results.
An essential element of lean manufacturing is waste reduction. However, it is first of all essential to identify waste prior to eliminating it.
Divide waste into the 7 categories identified by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Japanese TPS philosophy, based on their "DOWNTIME" acronym:
Improving production efficiency is not done through radical reorganizations or large-scale investments but through the cumulative effect of small incremental steps to progressively eliminate any waste. This is the Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement, and it is an essential aspect of lean manufacturing.
Seeking continual product and process improvement is a task that must be undertaken by all company members, from managers to workers. Everyone is responsible and involved in this process that requires a vertical exchange of ideas and proposals to improve production efficiency.
Kaizen has 4 fundamental steps:
Improvement must rely on an attentive analysis of the current situation and of the desired standards. Each objective has an appropriate, corresponding indicator in assessing the degree of achievement.
These steps guide the company in an iterative and continuous process in search of ever greater production efficiency.
Increase productivity while improving quality and safety. The 5S Method meets these challenges.
Focusing on order, organization, standardization, and cleaning allows, in five steps, to increase the productivity of processes in every business area—not only in the production chain but also in the offices and management.
Many other methodologies fall within the lean manufacturing definition in supporting a company's transition to a lean approach. Those presented in this article are the essential pillars in improving production efficiency toward a lean thinking perspective.
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