For the past 35 years, manufacturers have adopted lean manufacturing techniques and focused on reducing six categories of waste: overproduction, waiting, movement, inappropriate processing, excess inventory, unnecessary motion, and defects. These efforts were undertaken to enable more competitiveness for manufacturers, lower inventory levels, reduce floor space, cross-trained workforces, produce less waste, improve quality and more. For some, achieving these goals results in “being lean” but true lean thinking is not a one-time goal.
It’s about setting a new standard operating procedure, a new normal.
What sometimes happens, however, is that these efforts are focused on immediate gains and companies lose interest or momentum if there isn’t a clear path to the bottom line. In other cases, companies achieve measurable wins, proclaim themselves “a lean organization,” and the continuous improvement that this was designed to imbue slows. Unfortunately, as the pace slows, the root cause of waste goes unidentified and uncorrected for the future.
Consider this: are your lean efforts focused on delivering quick results or do you have total operational control to enable continuous improvement?
A Glance –
- Lean manufacturing techniques are focused on reducing waste in production processes yet many examples of waste still persist.
- Manufacturers can extend the benefits to other parts of the business such as back-office functions and data capture that can result in better control of the business.
- A single source of real-time operational data available at any time can bring to light waste that often hides in the shadows of otherwise productive operations.
Once you’ve eliminated the functional silos and achieved a real-time view of production operations, you gain better overall transparency of how efficiently different processes are operating. If you monitor scrap reasons, you can then actively reduce scrap.
When you collect data digitally at the point of activity, you can eliminate redundant data entry steps and gain improvement in inventory accuracy. Even managing individual lean projects is more effective with a single source of data with the necessary tools to perform root cause analysis and measure the before and after effects of any lean activity.
The result is better control of the business.