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An overview to lean manufacturing

Eliminating waste and improving the efficiency of your manufacturing company should be at the top of your list. There are many different ways to help your business reduce waste and increase efficiency but the one strategy that ranks at the top of the list is lean manufacturing.

Lean manufacturing techniques focus on implementing a new approach to manufacturing. Instead of trying to produce more products in a timely manner, you will focus on producing better products at a consistent rate. The entire organization will have an overhaul in order to reduce waste and increase efficiency. There are multiple approaches to lean manufacturing; this article will teach you the basics of some of the programs to choose from.

The 5 S Method
Out of all the lean manufacturing techniques the 5 S method is the easiest to integrate. Just about any type of business can implement the 5 S method and they will expect to see results. The 5 S method focuses on changing the organizational structure of the business and the various processes. It also focuses on making the workstations more efficient to gain the highest amount of work from your employees without causing them to feel overwhelmed and overworked. The 5 S method does work but you need your employees to accept it in order to make it work correctly. A lot of the 5 S method comes down to visual implementation changes and active involvement from the employees.

Another popular lean manufacturing program is Kaizen. Kaizen is a program called a continuous process improvement method. You will be able to eliminate waste by implementing the program. There are a few basic principles to Kaizen, they include the following:

  • Quality circles - you will develop groups within the company that are each involved in a different aspect of the business. These groups will need to concern themselves with the level of quality being produced with the products and services.

  • Teamwork - one main reason to implement Kaizen is to strengthen comradely within the organization. Your employees will all work together as a team, which helps the business to become more productive and efficient.

  • Discipline - when employees have an organized and efficient workplace, they will be focused and disciplines when it comes to performing their job duties. They will be able to stay on task easier and this helps to avoid needing management to step in all the time to refocus the employees.

Lean Six Sigma
Many companies choose to integrate Six Sigma along with lean manufacturing. This approach is known as Lean Six Sigma. When you implement Lean Six Sigma, you will focus on implementing tracking systems that allow you to quickly identify wastes and track how a product is sent through the manufacturing process. Lean Six Sigma allows you to get your rate of defect down and provides you with a chance to strengthen the business and the overall health of your business. Since you have a monitoring system in place, you will be able to find when a machine or a person causes a product to become defective so you can take immediate action to fix it.

Many of the lean manufacturing principles focus on changing the system and processes. If you have been performing things the same way over and over again for several years, it's common to experience defects and problems along the way. You need to use a lean manufacturing system to change the way you do business and reduce that error ratio dramatically. Implementing a lean manufacturing system will increase your companies efficiency and error ratio and provide you with higher quality service and products for your customers.

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