The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.
BENEFITS OF LEAN MANUFACTURING
Lean manufacturing is a series of methods designed to minimize the waste of material and labor while maintaining or increasing levels of production. This results in a net improvement in total productivity.
Ultimately, lean manufacturing is about eliminating that which does not add value and delivering the best possible product to the customer as quickly and with as few barriers as possible.
Lean manufacturing improves efficiency, reduces waste, and increases productivity. The benefits include increased employee satisfaction which directly ties into Talent Optimization and improving corporate culture.
MAP THE VALUE STREAM
To identify and map the value stream, we use the customer’s value as a reference point and identify all the activities that contribute to these values. Activities that do not add value to the end customer are considered waste.
The waste can be broken into two categories: non-valued added but necessary and non-value & unnecessary. The later is pure waste and should be eliminated while the former should be reduced as much as possible. By reducing and eliminating unnecessary processes or steps, you can ensure that customers are getting exactly what they want while at the same time reducing the cost of producing that product or service.
Inventory is considered one of the biggest wastes in any production system. The goal of a pull-based system is to limit inventory and work in process (WIP) items while ensuring that the requisite materials and information are available for a smooth flow of work.
A pull-based system allows for Just-in-time delivery and manufacturing where products are created at the time that they are needed and in just the quantities needed. Pull-based systems are always created from the needs of the end customers. By following the value stream and working backward through the production system, you can ensure that the products produced will be able to satisfy the needs of customers.
It is important to understand what value is. Value is what the customer is willing to pay for. It is paramount to discover the actual or latent needs of the customer. Sometimes customers may not know what they want or are unable to articulate it. This is especially common when it comes to novel products or technologies.
There are many techniques, such as interviews, surveys, demographic information, and analytics that can help you decipher and discover what customers find valuable. By using these qualitative and quantitative techniques, you can uncover what customers want, how they want the product or service to be delivered, and the price that they afford.
Wastes are prevented through the achievement of the first four steps. However, the fifth step of pursuing perfection is the most important among them all. It makes Lean thinking and continuous process improvement a part of the organizational culture. Every employee should strive towards perfection while delivering products based on customer needs. The company should be a learning organization and always find ways to get a little better each and every day.
After removing the wastes from the value stream, the following action is to ensure that the flow of the remaining steps run smoothly without interruptions or delays. Some strategies for ensuring that value-adding activities flow smoothly include: breaking down steps, reconfiguring the production steps, leveling out the workload, creating cross-functional departments, and training employees to be multi-skilled and adaptive.