Andon is the Japanese term for a signaling system within a production/processing line. These systems are a communication tool and are used to tell others the status of a production line to everyone on the production floor. They’re a very common tool in the manufacturing industry as more companies look for more ways to improve their production processes.
Andon boards usually have a comprehensive set of signals on display, including KPIs or data that involve the production process. They can help the production workers with their communication on the factory floor, aiding in quality control by stopping production where necessary and when they happen. Andons help manufacturers to accomplish their Lean manufacturing goals by streamlining the communications process on the manufacturing floor, and they’re an essential component in efficiency.
What Is “Lean” Manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is a system of techniques for running a manufacturing service. The way it works is to remove all activities in a business process that does not add value. It also removes waste from a business process. There are eight different defined types of waste – the unnecessary work that is performed as a result of errors or miscommunication. Often, professionals debate whether there is more than that, but the best way to remember the types of waste is with the acronym DOWNTIME. The eight pieces of waste include:
- Non-used Talent
When your business uses Lean manufacturing principles, you can gain a competitive advantage in improved productivity and lower operating costs. There are so many benefits for a company implementing Lean principles in their workplace, and many believe – mistakenly – that Lean only works in manufacturing. It’s not the case, but it’s the first place that companies implement it because it works.
Why Manufacturers Are Trying To Be Lean
A lean manufacturer understands the customer and their value, and they focus their processes to increase it continuously. The goal for a manufacturer is to provide the perfect value to the customer with a process with zero waste. When a manufacturer accomplishes this, lean thinking is in place as it changes management focus from the optimization of separate technologies, assets and vertical departments to product flow. Eliminating waste through these value streams create processes that are leaner than previously done, and that requires a lot less human effort, less capital and less space. Companies will then be able to respond faster to the changing needs of the customer, while also offering high quality and variety to them at a low cost.
What Are The Goals Of Lean Manufacturing?
The primary goal of Lean manufacturing lies in the improvement of quality, cost and delivery parameters for a business. This all leads to the enhancement of customer satisfaction, remaining continually focused on the improvements on offer. There are four specific goals of Lean manufacturing, which are explored in detail below:
Manufacturers have to focus on producing and delivering products that remain high-quality to be able to stay ahead of the competition in their industry. There are a lot of ways to improve the quality of their manufacturing, but Lean is the best way to do it. If you can reduce the waste in your processes, then you can focus on the product and invest the time into making it better.
The most crucial goal of Lean manufacturing is to reduce waste. Manufacturers produce a lot of waste, which can be even more than companies that are operating in other industries. It’s just how it works in an industry so big. If your business was to focus on the principles of lean manufacturing, you’ll find that you’re better able to reduce waste and become more eco-friendly.
Cutting Back Energy
When you reduce waste, you cut back on energy use and embrace more green, eco-friendly methods. When this happens, you can reduce your carbon footprint as a company and do better for the environment.
Reducing costs is the last goal. The more waste you cut, the more costs you reduce at the same time. When products are created faster, the total costs are reduced and lowering your costs allows you to be competitive in the market. This is essential for success!
Benefits Of Lean Manufacturing
Lean manufacturing improves business productivity, and there are many benefits to using it in your business. These include:
- Improved customer service because you are delivering exactly what your customers want
- Improving productivity and adding value per person
- Quality improvements and reducing defects and reworks
- Improvements in innovation with staff fully involved – this is where morale improves, and there is better participation in the business
- Less waste in transport, moving, waiting, physical waste and space
- Better lead times with products and business response
- Better stock turns as there is less work in progress and inventory issues.
How Andon Systems Are An Essential Component Of Lean Manufacturing
Andon systems are integral to the lean manufacturing option because they are there to improve productivity and inform when there are issues with the production process. They have warning lights that are incorporated into an overhead signboard, and this can warn everyone in the manufacturing process that there is a problem and in which area the problem has been identified. It’s a method to stop the process to allow the team to analyze the problem and fix it. This then prevents the entire manufacturing process from continuing to produce products that are defective.
Andon systems work to help a business to eliminate waste and alert when there are improvements to be made. The communication aspect of Andon systems is vital for a manufacturing business, and it’s for this reason that they fit into lean manufacturing goals so well. When processes are running smoothly, the entire manufacturing operation works well, ensuring that a manufacturing business stays ahead of the competition and produces excellent products.