The Journey to Becoming a Lean Enterprise

When people first learn about lean, they become excited by its simplicity and the exceptional benefits it brings. They mistakenly believe that because the concepts of lean are so simple that implementing it in a company should be equally simple, but that is rarely the case.

Becoming a lean organization is not a single step or even a finite undertaking such as a typical project. Lean is a process in and of itself. One of the fundamental principles of lean is Kaizen, or continuous improvement. The assumption is that no process will ever reach an ideal state, so it must always undergo improvement, and this principle holds true for organizations as well as all the manufacturing and business processes within it.

(more…)

Continue Reading

Lean and ERP in Production Environments

Whether your manufacturing facility focuses on discrete, process or mixed mode manufacturing, applying lean techniques can create major improvements. Even in highly regulated industries such as medical device manufacturing, there is a place for all key lean techniques.

Some lean advocates try to eliminate ERP and other software systems on the grounds that they add non-value added steps to the management process, but this is not the case. Even highly lean companies use ERP for calculating long range demand and to assist in replenishing materials. In addition, lean companies use forecasting software for S&OP and financial and cost accounting solutions for reporting. Regulatory compliance and tracking and tracing units and components is simpler when automated, and process documentation is easily communicated using software components.

Here are a few ways that software and lean coexist.

(more…)

Continue Reading

Lean Enhances Competitiveness

U.S. manufacturing went through several difficult years as competition from low-wage regions caused a major uptick in outsourcing and offshoring. Slowly but surely, intrepid manufacturers are turning the tide back to on shore manufacturing by increasing efficiency and controlling both costs and quality to decrease or remove completely any price advantages in those low wage regions.

Companies have used lean manufacturing and its companion discipline, six sigma, to become more productive and more competitive than ever before in history. By streamlining business processes and reducing unnecessary steps, many companies have completely eliminated the advantage of lower wages. Where the cost differential can’t be completely eliminated, companies have offset the competition’s lower prices by offering higher quality, faster delivery, superior service and mass customization offerings.

If your company is still struggling to hold the line against offshore competition, here are a few ways that lean can help make your company more competitive.

(more…)

Continue Reading

History of Lean Manufacturing

Taiichi Ohno, a former Toyota Motor Company executive, is widely credited with the development of the Toyota Production System, or TPS, which is the body of knowledge and practices from which we draw the concepts of lean manufacturing. Mr. Ohno always claimed that Henry Ford and his assembly line were the inspiration for lean because both systems focus on improving efficiency and eliminating unnecessary steps in the manufacturing process. Ohno’s famous summation of TPS, “Produce only what you need to satisfy the customer, and nothing more,” exemplifies the underlying concepts of TPS. (more…)

Continue Reading

End of content

No more pages to load