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Lean manufacturing techniques

Lean manufacturing is when a company is trying to use less of everything in the production of their goods compared to the mass production.Or in other words, it is a way to help companies achieve their targeted productivity, (and other things as well) by introducing tools and techniques that are simple to apply.This includes, but is not limited to less manufacturing space, less human effort, and less investment tools to develop their new product.The purpose of lean manufacturing is to improve the overall customer value by eliminating waste and things that are not needed in the manufacturing process.Lean manufacturing has become a hot topic in the 21st century, and is seen as one of the latest management fads.So let's look at some steps you can take to help you get started down the road to lean manufacturing and some techniques to help you get there.

1. Getting everyone on board.The first step in lean manufacturing is to make sure that your upper and senior management are on the same page as you are, and are willing to put in the same time and effort as you.Most of your other hired employees will follow those in command, so if you can make sure that the upper and senior management are on board then you are likely to have success with your other employees.
2. Choosing a project leader.When choosing a leader to be in charge of this large project you want to keep those in mind who have already established a good rapport with the other employees and is persuasive and liked.The qualities you would want any leader to have.Your leader is going to be responsible for bringing teams together from different environments.Your leader needs to have the skills to create unity within the different team members.
3. Creating Teams.You will need to choose small groups of people (about three to five people) from each department.These small teams will be working with your project leader on implementing lean manufacturing.Make sure that the people you pick are excited about the switch to lean manufacturing and will support you one hundred percent.
4. Training.After you have chosen your project leader, and your small teams to help with implanting lean manufacturing, you then need to begin training everyone on it.Here are some techniques you can teach your teams:
- Quality Function Deployment- Also known as "House of Quality" this technique is used to identify outputs required by customers, and then tracing them to causal inputs which can be controlled by the organization.Phase 1 is the design requirement, Phase 2 is the output Critical Part Characteristics, Phase 3 is the output Key Process Parameters, and Phase 4 is the output Production Requirements.
- Process failure modes and effects analysis- In FMEA studies can be used to size the risks of manufacturing quality failure modes.It will list all the potential sources of failure.This technique is used to ensure that all the manufacturing failure modes have been considered and measured.
- Poka Yoke- otherwise known as fool proofing it is a very cost effective way to prevent the production of defective products.The three different types of Poka Yoke are contact, constant number, and performance sequence.
- Six Sigma- This particular technique has become very popular and has become a quality of tools in itself.The original concept was the need for tighter consistency of process variables.
- Statistical Process Control- This technique is considered to be extremely effective and requires only periodic measurement of system output variables.Because of this, it has low administrative costs to the company.SPC involves establishing limits of statistical variability for a system output parameter in steady conditions.
- Quick changeovers- This is a core tool needed for lean manufacturing and is most often used because it is multi facetted and has a big impact.It provides a manufacturing organization to get from minimum batch quantity, to batch of one approach.Internal elements are converted to external and then are streamlined as far as possible.
- Machine Capability Studies- this is an important preventative approach in lean manufacturing.These techniques are used to establish statistical variability of the output parameter from a machine in steady state condition.
- Level Scheduling- Most lean manufacturing consultants will tell you that this technique is somewhat overlooked and under rated.It is a cost driver and is an important pre requisite for robust and low WIP Kanban implementations.It is a crucial way of driving out variability in the lean manufacturing process.

These are just a few of the tools you can use in manufacturing, and you do not have to use all of them.Pick and choose the ones that will work the best for you.When you have decided which ones will work best with your company you can implement them how you choose.Make sure everyone knows what their responsibilities will be, and what is expected.Stay consistent with projects for 2-3 months so you can learn from mistakes.As things start to improve you can then begin implementing in other areas of the company.

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