Four Ways Smart Manufacturing Enables Lean Strategies

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What if you could provide perfect value to your customer while generating zero waste? That idea is known as a lean strategy. While it’s a highly desirable goal, it’s also challenging to achieve, especially in a field such as manufacturing.

Changes in technology, such as smart manufacturing, enable manufacturers to put lean strategies into effect. Read on to learn the four ways in which smart manufacturing enables lean strategies and success.

Increasing Customer Satisfaction

A lean strategy provides perfect value to the customer while reducing waste. While there was some concern that IoT would erase the need for lean strategies (which emphasize simplicity), IoT actually enables lean strategies.

Smart manufacturing allows companies to satisfy customers much faster. How does it do that? The secret lies in automation. Machines can work non-stop to fulfill customer orders. Humans, conversely, need breaks and vacations. Additionally, automation significantly reduces the number of errors because there’s very little (or in some cases no) human intervention.

Reducing Waste

We’ll illustrate this point with a real-life example.

Star Rapid specializes in CNC machining and plastic injection molding, making it a one-stop shop for prototyping and low-volume manufacturing needs. The company was founded in China in 2005 by entrepreneur Gordon Styles.

Even though Styles has seen phenomenal growth in the past 13 years, he’s always looking to improve. Every action he takes is designed to make the firm more efficient. Smart manufacturing helps him achieve that by reducing waste. Automation combined with an efficient design allows the factory to scale up its operations dramatically.

Greater Visibility into Processes

One of the benefits of smart manufacturing is that equipment has built-in sensors. Those sensors collect enormous amounts of data about your manufacturing processes, and as such, can be leveraged for a competitive advantage.

Moreover, you can see that information in real time. Imagine being able to tweak a single step in the manufacturing process during a production run and see results immediately. You could fulfill more orders while wasting fewer resources.

Continuous Improvement

Another benefit of smart manufacturing is that it allows for continuous improvement. This is thanks to the data collection capabilities that the built-in sensors possess. Through machine learning, smart equipment doesn’t even need to be programmed to make new connections between the information it’s gathered – it can make those connections itself and figure out what to do when a new, yet relevant, situation arises.

This capability allows you to implement lean strategies because it helps you reduce waste. That waste could be needless steps, time-consuming processes, or an inefficient allocation of resources. At the same time, you’re delivering greater value to your customers.

Lean strategies have revolutionized a number of industries, including manufacturing. Although they were developed decades ago, they are still relevant. Changes in technologies haven’t rendered them obsolete – if anything, lean strategies are more important than ever before. Smart manufacturing equipment allows you to put those strategies in place, better satisfying customers and making your firm more efficient.

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