Businesses are constantly looking for ways to increase efficiency, and help improve their practices on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This is why lean manufacturing is a way of gaining a competitive edge, and streamline company procedures in the process. But what exactly is lean manufacturing, and how can we better implement it into our business practices?
Lean manufacturing has been the guiding principle in manufacturing for a while, and is one of the leading approaches for a lot of modern businesses focused on waste reduction and greater efficiency. So we’ll touch on what it means to practice lean manufacturing, how it affects your business, and how visual communication enhances that.
What Is Lean Manufacturing?
Simply put, lean manufacturing is the process of improving management techniques and approaches in order to create value in the business by reducing waste as much as possible. But, more than this, lean is a business philosophy that should be present throughout the company as a whole.
It’s a way of thinking that helps you when it comes to improving every aspect of your business. Lean thinking and management is essential for improving the performance and practices of any business, as well as boosting productivity, improving efficiency, and enhancing morale.
There are seven core pillars of lean thinking that businesses try to implement as much as they can: optimize the whole, eliminate waste of every kind, enhance knowledge, build quality, manage flow to deliver fast results, defer commitment, show respect to people.
With time, this philosophy has proven beneficial as it focuses on its business procedures, and overall business health. As businesses continually seek to improve, adapt, and be responsible for taking responsibility for unnecessary waste, the business benefits from not only the short term investment returns, but also the long term years down the road.
The idea is that, by implementing the thought processes associated with lean, companies are able to develop a business process that flows seamlessly and effectively, resulting in less waste, more production, and greater levels of success in the future.
Why Is It Important?
There are many reasons why lean manufacturing is important for businesses, and this largely depends on the sort of business you are running, as well as what you are hoping to achieve with it as well. But the key takeaway from this is that lean is an approach that makes every area of the business better in some way.
And it provides the platform and ground work for you to be able to take your company to newer heights. The main concept of a lean business approach is the elimination of waste, and this is more than simply physical waste.
Waste, in this sense, refers to anything that doesn’t bring value to the customer. This encourages you to strip back the business in many aspects, and focus on giving the best to your customers.
This is even more essential in a post-COVID world, where people place more importance than ever on value and quality. Businesses across the world are looking to evolve and adapt their practices in order to focus more on a lean approach.
Visual Communication Is Critical
Visual communication plays a key role in lean manufacturing because it improves the communication efficacy and efficiency among staff. Whether it’s the case of an emergency, or merely to convey information to another section of your manufacturing line, communication using charts, and data helps clearly define progress, and present concise information.
What’s more, visual aids and devices provide real-time updates for employees, and give them the pertinent information they need.
Andon systems are tools that play a big role in this visual communication because these systems notify management and workers on the production line of issues with quality or processing. This could be anything from equipment malfunction, to missing parts to health and safety concerns.
The system will alert and update the team in real-time, so that production can be halted in time for the team to find a solution and fix the problem. Visual communication is an essential tool to manufacturing facilities, because in some cases a large visual notification is more obvious, and brings aid quicker than a text notification.
Lean manufacturing is a game-changer for so many enterprises, and is already a solid technique for manufacturers. The benefits are obvious, and it is important to understand that visual communication is a vital cog in the lean process, so you need to look at how you can integrate it as easily as possible, through the use of andon systems.