Lean Manufacturing

The Lean Manufacturing approach is in practice in many businesses today. Lean Manufacturing is the updated application of processes and systems based on the original Toyota Just-in-Time system and is designed to eliminate waste in all aspects of a process. This waste can include items such as excess product moves, excess inventory and excess processing and lead-time, all factors that do not add value for the end customer.  Implementation of Lean Manufacturing initiatives can lead to substantial gains in product and process quality as well as lower overall business costs.  As for application, these processes can be implemented in the front office as well as the production floor and order fulfillment processes, reducing costs and improving performance along the way. Our expertise is in determining how best to implement these systems in an operation to maximize the overall benefits to the business. Listed below is more information on just some parts of these tools and their applications.

  • Toyota Production and Inventory Management Systems – Just in Time (JIT) is an inventory strategy implemented to improve the return on investment of a business by reducing response time and in-process inventory and its associated carrying costs. When implemented correctly, JIT can lead to dramatic improvements in a manufacturing organization’s return on investment, quality, and efficiency. Introduced in the late 1980’s in the United States, it is known for its use of inventory Kanbans and the reduction of the original Toyota seven wastes in order to improve overall customer value. It was the precursor to the Lean Manufacturing movement popular today.
    • Pull System Using Kanbans – In a pull system, after a part is removed from a Kanban location, there is a signal sent to prompt ordering or production of a part or product, thereby pulling the part back into the location in the order that it was consumed.
    • Push Scheduling Using ERP – In most manufacturing or order fulfillment businesses, some form of ERP, a push system, is used to manage the planning and movement of materials through the business. ERP uses a forecast and time-phased schedule to bring in the parts regardless if they have actually been consumed, thereby increasing inventory.
    • Hybrid JIT Kanban/ERP System – Marries the best capabilities of both systems: the ERP is used for planning longer term purchasing and capacity needs and kanbans are used to move material inside the factory or warehouse through established replenishment priorities.
  • Lean Manufacturing – A production practice that considers the expenditure of time and resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. Builds on the Toyota Production and Inventory Management Systems (JIT).
    • Waste Reduction – Through the use of Value Stream Analysis, all wastes are identified and actions are taken to reduce or eliminate them.
    • Schedule Leveling and Control – Through a variety of tools – Takt time, heijunka boxes, and cellular manufacturing – value added efforts are managed so they are responsive and leveled at a consistent work rate, insuring a higher level of predictability and performance.

Want to know more? Contact us and talk to our experts on possible applications.