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Lean manufacturing

happyman19220291.jpgThere are several types of manufacturing processes that can help a manufacturer save money. One way is by using lean manufacturing. This article discusses lean manufacturing and how it can help manufacturers.

What is lean manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing is another form of manufacturing which purpose is to help eliminate waste. There are many things are a regular assembly line and manufacturing plant which can be considered wasteful. The purpose of lean manufacturing is to identify those wasteful things so that the manufacturer can eliminate them from their manufacturing process. Eliminating this waste can save the manufacturer a lot of money.

Three types of waste

There are typically three types of waste that occur during manufacturing. These three types of waste include: mura-or "unevenness", muda-or work that is done that adds no value, and muri-or "overburden." Lean manufacturing works to get rid of these three types of waste.

One way to use lean manufacturing

There are two different approaches when it come to lean manufacturing. The first approach is to eliminate waste. This type of lean manufacturing uses certain techniques to help the manufacturer eliminate waste and save time and money during production.

One of the tactics that lean manufacturing uses is Value Stream Mapping. To create a Value Stream Map a manufacturer would first want to identify their specific product. Then they should sketch a state value stream map. This map should show the steps, delays, and other things about the current flow of getting the raw materials to the consumer as the product they need. After the map has been drawn, a manufacturer will be able to evaluate the value stream map and look at the flow of production. By looking at the flow of production they will be able to eliminate any waste that is involved.

After the current value stream map has been evaluated and wastes have been eliminated, the manufacturer can then draw up a new map for future production. This map can then be implemented into the production of their goods.

Poka-yoke is another utensil used in lean manufacturing. Poka-yoke is Japanese for mistake-proofing or error-proofing. Manufacturers can use poke-yoke to help draw attention to any human errors that are being made during the production process. Along with drawing attention to the errors, poka-yoke can help the manufacturer correct and prevent further errors from happening during production.

Another way to use lean manufacturing

The other approach to lean manufacturing is focusing more on the flow of production and no necessarily the reduction of any waste during production. There are also certain methods that are used in working to improve the flow of production.

Heijunka box is a type of schedule used by manufacturers. There are rectangular shaped boxes that are dived up. These boxes are in columns that symbolize a certain amount of time and then there are lines that break up the schedule into different shifts, weeks, or days of the week. Within the boxes there are cards that have different jobs written on them. These jobs are what is required of the workers at a certain period of time. Employees take their cards from the box so that they know what to do.

Production leveling can also be used in lean manufacturing to help the smooth out the flow of production. In most assembly lines fluctuations will occur, and this fluctuation increases waste. One way to achieve production leveling is to make one product, then another product, then another, instead of making the same product in a row on the assembly line.

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