Lean manufacturing, derived from innovative quality systems Japanese automakers is now a common practice for process improvement.
It is embraced today by almost all industries and services as part of Continual Improvement.
It is a comprehensive process that eliminates waste from manufacturing processes, finally part of cost reduction strategy.
The start: get real data. The Internet of Things and Lean Manufacturing
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept that machines, sensors, monitors, and humans can all engage in real-time communication.
As technology advances and the Internet of Things became a common reality in the industrial world, the identification of waste is now much easier. Instead of using a pen and a paper for identifying waste components in any process stream we can get directly workstation status by using IoT devices.
Other solutions are development of scanning and digital interfaces.
Paper-based forms can be replaced with smart interfaces which will check data entered by operators and transfer it to servers. Collected data can be automatically processed being available in real-time as information for staff.
By having real-time data available, lot of improvement opportunities can be applied for target processes. For example, we can:
- set targets like NOK parts/ same defect/ period of time then trigger automatically alerts (SMS/ emails/ audio) if target not achieved
- follow reactions from production area (operators, maintenance..)
- automatically identification of risks based on abnormal situations occurrence then trigger analysis requests for process responsible
Lean manufacturing and communication boards
One of Lean manufacturing pillar is the utilization of boards, to support internal communication. In present days boards are paper-based in almost all companies.
The paper-based boards has several serious limitations:
- data/ information is lost when the paper is lost if it is not archived (however after several years will be disposed)
- someone has to replace/ redraw manually, which is "muda" in lean language (uselessness performed activity, therefore a lost for business)
In present days we consider that this has to be changed by developing systems with features like:
- auto-update boards, closed as much as possible to real-time process changes
- auto-update improvement actions plans
Improvement action plans has to be based on an work-flow based model.
If you are curious, read our case studies.