Everybody has heard soon or later in their work experience, about lean manufacturing or lean production. Many decided to implement it first hand, by integrating it in the design and production processes of their company, according to the needs.
Before talking about the experience of MICROingranaggi, I’d like to take a step back and briefly summarise what is about. I re-assert: IN BRIEF, because there is a lot to talk about on this theme, and it would be impossible to summarize all the information in a single post.
Above all, I must state that the term lean manufacturing indicates a modus operandi aimed at minimizing waste until almost eliminating it and, in fact, is a general explanation of the production system of the renowned Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota. A system that proved to be particularly effective because based on five important principles:
– definition of value from the client’s point of view;
– elimination of waste;
– integration of all activities within fluent processes (therefore without breaks or interruptions);
– planning and execution of an activity only when the downstream process actually requires it;
– try to pursue perfection through constant improvements.
Thus various ’lean techniques’ were conceived during the years based on these five principles.
A few years ago, MICROingranaggi also started to integrate lean manufacturing principles to its processes. This is an evolution that fell within the same time period in which we added a second shed to our plant.
After having gathered extensive information on the topic, we completely re-thought and re-designed the flow of our production process: from when the material enters the warehouse, to when it is processed, quality control, until the assembly and packaging phases, obviously including all the aspects concerning the management of the warehouse.
Re-designing and re-organizing the flow of the production process also led, in concrete terms, among other upgrades, to move most machinery and work areas. Activity that we were fortunately able to accomplish without interrupting production.
As previously stated, the goal was to generate a flow inspired to those of lean manufacturing to completely eliminate waste and useless steps.
The result? Absolutely remarkable, I would say. Since we are also job-shoppers, we boast many different codes, therefore we do not carry out a long-term production of the same type of article. For this reason, we cannot evaluate in percentage terms the improvements that we have achieved through the lean re-organization of our processes. However, aside from this aspect, the general perception is a net improvement of the work.
What is your experience with regards to lean manufacturing?