Archives : manufacturing

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    The Advantages Of Lean Manufacturing

    Lean manufacturing is the processes, techniques, strategies and initiatives being implemented by companies around the world that aim to reduce unnecessary and unproductive tasks, activities and behaviors in the work environment.

    Because the times have really gone hard, demanding and intense due to political and turbulent concerns affecting all nations, firms are currently facing challenges to be able to keep their profitability and efficiency.

    Lean manufacturing not only reduces operational costs but also targets to boost, restore and significantly raise the competitiveness of a company.

    There are seven identified ‘forms of waste’ within the work environment and systems that lean manufacturing principally aims to alleviate, if not totally eliminate. These are over production, over processing, transportation, motion, inventory, waiting and scrap and defects.

    Several advantages of adopting lean manufacturing principles

    The first advantage identified by experts from implementing lean manufacturing techniques and strategies is the reduction of manufacturing time.

    When the manufacturing lead time is significantly lowered, it follows that the operational costs incurred from the use of energy, utilities and wages from laborers’ time will also be significantly reduced.

    Thus, lean manufacturing helps companies retain, maintain and significantly increase their earnings, widen their margins and help them generate savings from lower costs.

    Space is another area where lean manufacturing advantages are clearly and effectively exhibited. Working space, it is understood, is one of the primary and basic factors that keep operations of businesses going.

    Labor and human resource experts estimate that adoption of good and effective lean manufacturing techniques and strategies will likely help companies reduce their physical floor space requirements by as much as 5% to 30%.

    The figures involved could be small and miniscule for your eyes, but, actually, that will significantly contribute to much more efficiency and savings. That would be an advantage almost all businesses will surely look after.

    The advantage in productivity

    It is found that in general, companies implementing and adhering to lean manufacturing practices significantly boost and increase their manufacturing productivity by as much as 75% to 125%.

    It is because time and efforts are principally targeted by lean manufacturing processes. Thus, elimination of wastes, practices, behaviors and unnecessary and disturbing objects in the work place will surely and practically help workers get on to their tasks with much smooth pacing and comfort.

    You know how it is when workers work without any distractions and interruptions. Productivity is very much maximized. Thus, lean manufacturing becomes a necessity for companies to be able to achieve that goal.

    The advantages in terms of waste to profit relationships

    It follows that elimination and reduction of wastes will gradually and efficiently help boost and raise up earnings and profits in companies.

    Thus, elimination of wastes and unproductive activities, objects, tasks and behaviors in the work place will surely help the company and its personnel focus on the requirements and demands of the customer.

    The advantage of that, above all is that, when customer satisfaction is achieved, sales will surely rise. The best way to establish a good relationship with customers is to improve the products and services offered to them.

    Lean manufacturing would be of great help to achieve a good customer or client relations.

    Another advantage brought about by lean manufacturing techniques among various companies and firms adopting it worldwide is streamlined, rationalized or lean structuring of the organization.

    You should know that elimination of excess and unnecessary job positions and tasks in a company is a sure way to help that firm reduce labor costs and eventually lead to generate savings.

    Lean manufacturing without a doubt brings that advantage of leanness upon organizations and companies practicing and adopting it.

    Advantage on culture improvement

    Various companies around the world are practicing and implementing different cultures. It is usually a cause of problems, conflicts and issues around and within the organization.

    In lean manufacturing, the cultures are standardized, thus, unfavorable practices and behaviors of both the employees and the management are reduced, if not eliminated.

    The greatest advantage of lean manufacturing in terms of cultures adopted by companies is that lean manufacturing makes the differences between management and personnel reach to a verging point.

    Lean manufacturing principles should really be implemented by companies. It is high time to reap its advantages.

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    The Philosophy of Lean Manufacturing

    In the field of management, there are various approaches that principally aim to accelerate and boost corporate firms’ revenues and operational efficiencies.

    Progressive companies from around the world have been coming up with different strategies for corporate improvement. Some of these schemes have been so effective that other firms have recognized and even adopted them. One of these efficiency-focused philosophies is what is termed ‘lean manufacturing.’

    What is lean manufacturing?

    Lean manufacturing is a holistic and strategic approach that aims to enable businesses and companies to improve and boost competitiveness and profitability. Leaning–at least in part these days on IoT and Artificial intelligence, lean manufacturing aims to set in desired improvements through identification and elimination of wasteful or unproductive behavior and practices among employees and management.

    Lean manufacturing is a program or methodology that could prove to be fitting and appropriate for all types of businesses or organizations. Lean manufacturing would be effective whether adopted by companies in the manufacturing, service, trading or other sectors.

    Lean manufacturing is focused at helping companies get the right things, to the right and appropriate places, at the perfect or right time and in the right amount or quantity while at the same time, reducing waste and promoting productivity and flexibility among workers.

    Lean manufacturing and waste

    It does not take a successful manager to assert that businesses and companies carry unnecessary and unlikely burden of wastes.

    Lean manufacturing as a philosophy focuses on reducing the seven wastes commonly identified among global firms. Lean manufacturing attempts to help companies eliminate these unnecessary wastes to improve output quality, to maximize production and the time needed for it and mostly, to significantly save on costs.

    The seven wastes lean manufacturing aims to slash and eliminate in the workplace are the following:

    1. Over production
    2. Over processing
    3. Transportation
    4. Motion
    5. Inventory
    6. Waiting
    7. Scrap and defects

    Over production, over processing and inventory

    While some companies view over production in the positive way, most, especially those in the service and manufacturing sectors, take it as a manufacturing liability.

    Over production will create a piling of inventory that would eventually create a problem in distribution because most warehouses have capacity limits.

    What is worse is that over production and piling of inventories are the usual causes of price drops, which are deemed bad for the business by most firms.

    The fundamental law of supply and demand will attest that if supplies are exceeding or too much, then demand tries to settle down or decline. Demands going down will mean prices rolling back or dropping as well.

    Over production is unnecessary because it takes away productive time from employees and managers. There are many disadvantage of over processing and most of them seem pretty obvious to you. Over processing increases cost.

    Transportation, motion and waiting

    Because time is an important element of productivity, lean manufacturing values it the most. Thus, lean manufacturing philosophy aims to boost efficiency.

    Transportation is an essential element of manufacturing because through it commodities and merchandise are distributed to retailers, down to the consumers.

    However, lean manufacturing mandates that firms maximize the use of transportation especially nowadays when oil prices are high.

    Because energy prices are rising, and energy is what keeps companies rolling, motion should be controlled. Lean manufacturing will have companies slash procrastination and unproductive hours among employees so as to increase and meet sufficient production targets.

    If motion is made efficient, then waiting could be reduced if not eliminated. In lean manufacturing, waiting makes people idle and it kills time that should have been used in more productive endeavors and activities.

    Scrap and defects

    Lean manufacturing have it that if employees are efficient and if they are motivated, the quality of production would be greatly boosted. That means, the company will not have to spend costs on wages, energies and other capital just to produce defective items that would eventually be rejected upon distribution.

    While scraps and defects in production items are inevitable, companies adhering to lean manufacturing principles could always do something about it. Basic management principles have it that motivation is the most effective incentive to get workers doing the right and proper procedures in the work place.

    All the seven wastes that are targeted by lean manufacturing strategies are interconnected with the elimination of one leading to the elimination of the others.

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    What the Heck is a Co-bot?

    The bogeyman of manufacturing is automation & robotics. You either love them or you really hate them. About half of the manufacturing employees in the world have heard how robots are going to take over the business and they will be out of a job. Nothing could be further from the truth. While some very dangerous or very difficult jobs may be taken over by robotics, for the most part the use of robotics in manufacturing is taking place alongside and with the help of their flesh & blood counterparts.

    Those interactions with co-bots, or robots working in cooperation with humanity, are providing some of the biggest improvements in manufacturing that we’ve seen in decades.

    Co-bots got their start about 20 years ago but they have only been commercially available for about 10 years.  They were invented originally in the 90s and some of the grants that went into researching them came from giant motor companies such as General Motors. They wanted robots that would work in collaboration with humans, helping them with lifting and other things.

    In the latter part of 1996, two people at Northwestern University came up with the cobots of today. GM called them IAD or intelligent Assist Device, but the Cobot term stuck and was more rapidly accepted.

    What are the Benefits of Co-bots?

    It’s a whole new world so far as the competition in manufacturing. With AI and Machine learning and many other things, falling behind your competition simply isn’t an option. It’s the fast and easy way to be out of business. Co-bots can help you to do more and do it more quickly. Simply stated they are the way to get ahead of the competition and stay there.

    They are suitable for small to midscale production and they offer you a far improved return on your initial investment. Co-bots also offer you a much safer work environment because they can do much of the difficult and dangerous work that you require completed.

    The other added benefit of co-bots is they still require engineering and tech support.  Many engineering jobs that seemed obsolete are now back in play so don’t neglect hardware engineering specialization. It’s back in vogue.

    Co-bots, no matter how you slice it, are the wave of the future. Companies need to take a hard look at what they have to offer. In manufacturing as in any other technology driven arena… you either ride the wave, or you sink.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers.  Register to receive regular blog posts and industry specific articles at: http://eepurl.com/dtKsDL or visit at www.whmeanor.com

     

     

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    A Sustainability Problem in Manufacturing.

    If you work in an industrial capacity, especially if you work in manufacturing, there are a few things that you should worry about. Sustainability is a huge worry in any type of manufacturing these days, though IoT is helping a lot. Sustainability can be a difficult task for any manufacturing company due to operating challenges. However, it is still something that should try to be achieved. Different aspects of the business can affect sustainability such as energy efficiency, the role of the equipment, and even saving water. It doesn’t matter how well you are planning from an equipment standpoint, everything can be undone by bad operations and conversely, good operations and bad planning can also cause all your efforts to go awry.

    Whether you are a facilities manager or a backroom employee, there are plenty of instances of operations messing with the sustainability goals. There are times when this is unavoidable, for instance if production has to be ramped-up because of a spike or demand. Unfortunately, in a situation like that, it is unavoidable. You can be doing everything right and still have your sustainability efforts take a hit.

    Normally, the issue will have something to do with people taking shortcuts or changing things that they shouldn’t be changing. While these may seem obligatory on the surface, they can influence the underlined part of the process. For instance, they might affect your water bill or the electric bill. That can cause you an issue. It would be nice if there was an easy answer, but sustainability is an ongoing fight and in a lot of cases, it is a knock-out blow that puts them down for the count.

    You should never just throw up your hands because of sustainability as a challenge. You must ask yourself the hard questions; What caused the problem? When did it start? Who could have prevented this? Why did this happen? What can I do to fix it? Once you have answered these questions, you need to try to fix the issue. Sustainability can’t just be something that is ingrained in the culture of a company. If you are not consciously trying to improve, you will get left behind and that is not what anyone wants. Most people can also do amazing things if they have the proper training and techniques.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. Register to receive regular blog posts and industry specific articles at: http://eepurl.com/dtKsDL or visit at www.whmeanor.com

     

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