A Quick Guide to Lean Manufacturing
At IAI, we offer a range of manufacturing support services to help companies transfer their labor-intensive manufacturing operations to Mexico without establishing a completely new division in Mexico. We utilize lean manufacturing tools to eliminate non-value-adding equipment, operations, and resources, which enables us to produce the right products and provide the right services when they are needed in the necessary quantities.
Below, our experts have put together a guide to lean manufacturing. It provides an overview of the methodology, including the common goals, key principles, main benefits, and types of waste targeted.
What Is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing—also referred to as lean production—is a manufacturing methodology focused on minimizing waste while maximizing productivity. Waste is defined as anything the company does not see as adding value. Any wasteful investments can lead to efficiency loss and/or stunted production, both of which are highly detrimental to the productivity and profitability of the company. That’s why many companies use lean manufacturing techniques to eliminate waste in their systems.
Other common goals of lean manufacturing include:
- Improved Quality — Companies need to adapt based on the changing wants and needs of consumers if they want to remain competitive. As a result, manufacturing processes must meet or exceed customers’ expectations. Using lean manufacturing, companies can focus on improving the quality of their processes to keep up with ever-changing requirements.
- Reduced Time — In addition to physical waste, many inefficient operations can result in wasted time. Lean manufacturing can help shorten project timelines.
- Lowered Total Costs — By producing less waste and maintaining more efficient manufacturing operations, companies can benefit from lower overall costs.
Key Lean Manufacturing Principles
In the book “Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation”, the authors lay out five principles of lean: value, value stream, flow, pull, and perfection. They are often referenced as the core tenets of lean manufacturing and used as the basis for implementing lean practices. Below, we highlight how the principles should be used in practice.
1. Determine Value as Perceived by the Customer
In the lean manufacturing methodology, the customer defines value. The product or service provider must understand how customers value their products and services before they can accurately determine how much they can charge for them.
2. Map the Value Stream
Value stream mapping involves recording and analyzing the flow of information and material needed to produce a product or provide a service. The scope is the entire lifecycle of the product or process, while the focus is identifying waste and appropriate waste reduction solutions.
3. Ensure Flow
Flow is vital to eliminating waste. Removing barriers to flow ensures products can be made and processes can be performed without interruption.
4. Set Up a Pull System
In pull systems, no resources are bought and no assets are made until there is customer demand for the specific product or process in which they are used. Following this principle ensures the company never has too much or too little inventory.
5. Aim for Perfection With Continual Improvements
Companies should continually look for ways to improve products and processes to remain competitive. Any quality issues should be identified and addressed, and any waste should be discovered and eliminated.
Main Benefits of Lean Manufacturing
There are many benefits to adopting lean manufacturing, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Higher production rates
- Shorter cycle times
- Greater customer satisfaction
- Better employee morale
- Smaller labor and space requirements
- Lower operational costs
Types of Waste Targeted by Lean Manufacturing
The lean manufacturing methodology classifies waste into three categories: Mura, Muri, and Muda.
Mura refers to waste stemming from unevenness—i.e., waste created due to demand fluctuation. Fluctuations can occur when the company experiences an increase or decrease in customer requests or adds or removes products or services.
Muri refers to waste stemming from being overburdened—i.e., waste created due to trying to accomplish too much at the same time. It occurs due to poor resource allocation; too few people are assigned to do too much work.
Muda refers to waste stemming from investing in non-value-adding work—i.e., process waste. One of the goals of lean manufacturing is eliminating this type of waste completely from the system.
Contact Us for More Information About IAI’s Lean Manufacturing Tools
Lean manufacturing is a powerful manufacturing methodology. It enables companies to deliver high-quality products and processes at low costs, which can lead to better customer satisfaction and greater company efficiency.
The experts at IAI use a variety of lean manufacturing tools to help companies minimize or eliminate production waste, saving them time, money, and resources. As a nearshoring partner, we will help you ship your equipment to our Mexico facility and arrange for proper raw material sourcing. We can then provide consistent and reliable production out of our certified facilities. In turn, you’ll benefit from cost savings you wouldn’t find with in-house manufacturing operations based in the United States or Canada. Based on your unique requirements and restrictions, we will produce the right quality and quantity of products and services when you need them.