When you’re operating a manufacturing facility, even the smallest margin of waste can add up to significantly reduced profits. If you’re looking for ways to improve the efficiency of your production facility or better manage your industrial resources, then it’s time to consider lean consulting firms and the benefits their services provide.
At lean manufacturing consulting companies such as Design Systems, Inc., highly trained industry experts work with your team to identify and address inefficiencies in your operations. These could present themselves in facility issues, inefficient training procedures or missing maintenance steps for your equipment.
There are many areas where waste can present itself, but most industrial processing inefficiencies can be placed in one of three categories:
- Muri: Waste due to overburden
- Mura: Waste due to uneven demand
- Muda: Waste due to non-value-adding activities
Lean Manufacturing Principles
There are many principles that can be used to address inefficiencies in a facility. While the exact causes of reduced efficiency vary, the basic categories and solutions rely on the same principles. Here are three principles that can be used to implement lean manufacturing in your facility:
- Only maintain minimum inventory levels
- Reduce downtime and transportation costs
- Supervise automated processes to ensure quality control
These three principles of lean manufacturing are part of the Toyota Production System, first implemented at Toyota manufacturing facilities. When inventory levels are kept to an as-needed level, you aren’t spending unnecessary resources in storage. This first principle is particularly important when manufacturing perishable or time-sensitive items.
Transportation costs can be a major hurdle in efficient production. The team at our lean consulting firm works with you to identify ways to streamline the transportation process for reduced shipping times and costs. Finally, automation offers a way to increase the accuracy and repeatability of increasingly complex operations. Automated manufacturing equipment still requires human supervision to ensure the highest levels of quality.
5S Lean Manufacturing
One common methodology lean manufacturing consulting companies use is referred to as 5S. This methodology was also developed by the Toyota Motor Company. Originally named after five Japanese words, this lean process can be described by five English words as well:
- Set in order
The first step is to properly organize tools, materials and equipment. The goal of this step is to ensure only useful, efficient items are being used and stored in your facility. Next, items need to be properly organized for an efficient manufacturing process.
The third step is all about cleanliness in your workplace. Facility, tool and material cleaning is crucial to reducing maintenance issues and improving accuracy. A standardized process is the first step toward repeatable, trackable results. Finally, these procedures need to be sustainable to keep your facility operating efficiently for years to come.
Tools of Lean Manufacturing
Our team at DSI employs many common tools of lean manufacturing to help you identify and eliminate waste and inefficiencies. Many tools are theoretical ways to organize the process. Other tools are software options to track, manage and alter your manufacturing operations.
5S is a common tool, but there are many others. Rather than take the time to fully research bottleneck analysis, Jidoka, Kanban, SMART goals and other tools, work with a lean manufacturing expert to harness these and other tools.
Examples of Lean Manufacturing
As a leader among lean consulting firms, our team at DSI can work with a range of industries to offer innovative results. Consider working with a lean manufacturing consultant if you operate in one or these industries:
- Automotive manufacturing
- Tool and die
Every industry offers unique opportunities for improved efficiency. Some recommendations may include investing in automated systems, while other suggestions may simply be altered schedules, reorganized storage or other manufacturing strategies.
Lean Manufacturing Consulting Companies
Design Systems is a large multi-disciplined lean manufacturing consulting company and engineering consulting firm with a staff of over 300 people to support your project needs. Our staff has hundreds of thousands of hours of lean manufacturing engineering experience in design and process integration representing numerous industrial environments. Contact us today for more details.