Lean manufacturing is a collection of practices and tools that companies use to improve their efficiency and profitability. It’s a continuous improvement practice meaning lean manufacturers will always be looking for ways to make their operations better.
In Lean manufacturing, tools are used as a way to standardize efforts. They also help manufacturers create and maintain consistency across their business operations by eliminating wasteful processes and implementing Lean principles where they’re needed most.
Lean tools can be highly effective in helping manufacturers cut costs, streamline operations, reduce downtime and improve quality control in a variety of ways.
Why Lean Manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is a manufacturing method that focuses on reducing costs through the elimination of waste, which in turn results in improved profitability for manufacturers. The practice can be applied to any company across all industries.
Lean manufacturing saves you money in a number of ways. It eliminates the need for excess inventory, reduces the total time it takes to get products from suppliers to warehouses, removes unnecessary steps from manufacturing processes, and increases transparency by improving visibility into operations.
The Best Tools for Lean Manufacturers
1. OEE Systems
OEE stands for Overall Equipment Effectiveness, and it’s a Lean tool that uses data to help manufacturers understand what’s going on in their plant. The system enables manufacturers to monitor the performance of their equipment from one central location.
OEE systems provide real-time communication, performance monitoring, and reporting analyses to give you insight into what’s going on with your equipment.
2. Wireless Sensor Networks
Wireless sensor networks use technology to monitor equipment in real-time. They collect information about the performance of different types of equipment, allowing manufacturers to improve their processes.
Wireless sensor networks create a Lean manufacturing environment that enables manufacturers to continue Lean practices during plant downtimes or plant shutdowns.
The practice of just-in-time manufacturing involves producing products only when they’re needed. This concept relies on the manufacturing tool called an Andon, which encompases the idea that workers request assistance and let everyone in the factory know that there’s a problem with the production line.
Smart Andon systems create Lean manufacturing environments by automatically stopping the production line when problems are detected. Calling for help and getting resources to a line by increasing accountability will reduce downtime and increase productivity. Tracking and acknowledging response times is a recommended part of a complete Andon system.
4. Cloud-Based Manufacturing Software
Cloud-based software systems provide manufacturers with the Lean manufacturing tools they need to manage their operations from anywhere using any device.
Manufacturers can upload data to cloud-based systems, which creates Lean manufacturing environments that help them understand what’s happening with their operations at any time, from anywhere.
Visual management solutions provide immediate visual status on production output and display the current issues impacting production. One screen can show the whole picture of your production floor, allowing you to get a comprehensive view of your production processes.
Visual manufacturing tools allow manufacturers to quickly prioritize issues that need immediate attention.
Lean manufacturing tools allow your business to run efficiently without extra effort from you. VersaCall offers a wide variety of services to help your manufacturing business run smoothly.