Eliminate Waste with Lean Manufacturing StrategiesAugust 26, 2014
How lean strategies such as short interval control & the concept of agile manufacturing can increase your companies efficiency.
Delivering a quality product or service to a valued customer is the core to a successful business, and much of this depends on efficiency. The idea of implementing lean manufacturing strategies works to conserve materials, time, and inventory through improved inventory handling, time management, and production maintenance. The goal of lean manufacturing- eliminate waste- is attained through many different processes and systems, including short interval control and agile manufacturing.
Short Interval Control (SIC)
The concept of SIC is based on periodic performance reviews during factory-floor shifts that allows employees to decide what needs to be done to achieve improved performance. The SIC process encourages teams of employees to assess their operation regularly so as to fix small mistakes along the way to prevent larger scale issues from happening in the future.
SIC is largely run by real time production data to direct instant front-line decision making. The data is what influences all the decisions, so effective data systems are necessary for the process to work effectively.
TIP: Implementing this tactic starts with identifying the area of business that needs SIC most (area that has performance deficiencies and team members who are willing to change operations). Once this area is recognized, the team needs to choose an appropriate SIC interval, which is based on the time needed to collect the applicable data. Most sites start off with an interval of every four hours which includes a correction in the beginning of the shift, and then another at the mid-shift mark. The team can work towards a goal of intervals every two hours, which would provide more recurrent improvements.
With successful implementation of SIC, a company can see instant improvements including:
- Faster responses and better control over the overall lean manufacturing strategy with real time data.
- An increase in Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). OEE measures the percentage of planned production time that is truly productive.
Agile manufacturing is a process that goes beyond lean manufacturing. Many times lean manufacturing precedes agile manufacturing as it is a "big picture" solution. Agile manufacturing involves controlling closeness to local markets in order to supply the newest and highly customized items with exceptional speed. This process is important for competition as customers are more likely to purchase products that they can get immediately.
TIP: Companies have found that agile manufacturing works best when manufacturing teams produce products with modular designs to allow for easier modifications. Using modular designs allows for designs to be altered or customized quickly and easily. Effective implementation of this can’t happen without closeness to the product. With proximity to the product and more control over the product’s design and improvement, companies can significantly and easily improve.
Agile manufacturing works because it targets customers directly. In addition, agile manufacturing allows for:
- Choice- Customers buy a product expecting it to work a certain way, the way they want it to. With proximity to the product, companies can provide their customers with a variety of choices and customization options.
- Flexibility- Interests come and go, so it is important for companies to stay abreast of changing interests within their customer base. It is easier to stop one project and start another by keeping operations local.
- Immediate satisfaction- Customers look for products that they can acquire immediately and without long wait times and costs due to shipping. This lean manufacturing concept works to eliminate waste caused by transportation.
With effective implementation, companies can eliminate downfalls such as over production and over processing by implementing lean manufacturing strategies such as short interval control and agile manufacturing. Decreasing production time, material costs and waste will also help lower the risk of losing customers.
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