What Is Lean Manufacturing and How Can It Improve Factory Production Quality?

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By Peggy Fonrose - December 03, 2021

Outdated processes and bottlenecks can quickly reduce productivity in manufacturing. Lean manufacturing can help. 

What is lean manufacturing, though? It applies lean manufacturing tools, practices, and principles to product manufacturing and focuses on how employees and managers collaboratively work. Its primary focus is on delivering customer value by eliminating waste.

Waste is anything that doesn’t add value to the customer and requires an investment of time, money, and talent. Examples include inefficient processes, idle time, underutilized talent, and excess inventory. In reducing waste, you can increase production efficiency in the manufacturing system. Read on to learn more about lean manufacturing and how the model can improve your operations.

What Is Lean Manufacturing Training, and How Do I Implement It?

Is lean manufacturing right for you? Organizations shift to the lean approach for a number of reasons. Maybe you want to optimize your processes and reduce time to market. Perhaps money is a chief concern instead, and you need to cut costs and realize greater profits. In other cases, being a market leader is important, and you want to not only push the envelope on innovation but also foster customer relationships along the way.

Whatever the overarching motivation, manufacturers use lean principles to train their staff to work smarter, innovate faster, and deliver customer value. So how do you go about it? Lean manufacturing is about reducing waste. The methodology uses several tools and strategies to identify and eliminate waste. 

Some of these methods include:

Value Stream Mapping

A value stream map is designed to help you learn how value flows through your team and your organization and how to optimize value flow. It includes actions you should take to go from ideation to delivery, defining and visualizing the steps to go from customer request to product, service, or project. 

Kanban Boards

Visualization is an important part of lean manufacturing. Whereas value stream mapping outlines your steps to success, Kanban boards help to visualize workflows, analyzing and optimizing the process.

The Kanban board makes it easier to see problems as they occur, such as bottlenecks and capacity issues. Work-in-process (WIP) limits on the board help teams manage capacity. With this information, it’s easier to see and eliminate common sources of process waste, returning focus to the customer.

Continuous Delivery

Manufacturing never rests, so organizations must find ways to keep moving. Continuous delivery is this system of continuous work. By continuing to problem solve and innovate, organizations gain a competitive advantage of delivering products faster and learning, growing, and adapting faster than the competition. 

Pull System

In any job, there’s usually a process to follow for collaborative task completion: One person does their part, then pushes the project through to the next person/step. 

The pull system flips the script by emphasizing helping coworkers finish current tasks before starting new ones. Throughout the process, when one piece is completed, workers notify one another, and the next person can work on the project whenever their available capacity allows. As a result, productivity, efficiency, and morale get a boost.

These are just a few of the strategies that go into successful lean manufacturing, and Tile+ from Worximity is 100 percent compatible! Coupled with lean tools and strategies like these, data-driven insights from Tile+ help you react in real time, forecast, and measure your production and efficiency gains.

How Lean Manufacturing Improves Operations

Lean manufacturing has a number of strategies for successful implementation, but the real proof is in positive results. The lean methodology can improve your operations in several ways.

Less Waste

As the No. 1 priority for lean manufacturing, the methodology reduces wasted costs and resources—or anything else that fails to add value to your operation. Removing waste has a trickle-down effect to reduce costs and improve quality and production time.

Time Savings

Wasting time also wastes money. When you create efficiencies for project completion, such as Kanban cards and pull systems, work gets done faster and you can focus on pleasing customers.

Reduced Costs

When you eliminate waste like time, materials, or production, you prune away excess expenses, too. And without these elements and activities, it’s easier to save on storage and warehousing. 

Better Quality

Customers’ needs shift on a dime. Lean processes are designed with customers in mind, so you can meet their needs and improve product and delivery.

Lean principles can help resolve operational pain points like cost, quality, and other issues.

Improve Factory Quality with Lean Manufacturing

The ultimate goal of lean manufacturing is to help your team realize greater productivity and reduce wasted time, efforts, and inventory.

Start by measuring overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). OEE reveals the difference between planned production time and time that is actually productive. It considers availability, performance, and quality.

OEE = availability x efficiency x quality

Any of these aspects could result in manufacturing waste or loss, especially quality. Quality loss identifies manufacturing waste, or pieces that have been made that do not meet quality standards. Lean manufacturing can help improve quality metrics and bring your operations up to your exacting standards.

Worximity's manufacturing software suite is designed to enhance your operations and boost OEE. From data collection via TileConnect to real-time dashboards and analytics reporting via Tile + and Tilelytics, Worximity empowers teams to make critical decisions.

Get More Lean Manufacturing Expertise

Lean manufacturing brings you closer to customers because they become the top priority. Visualize what could help your team become more efficient, and put lean systems in place to find success—check out our lean manufacturing E-book.

 

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