World Class Manufacturing (WCM) vs Lean Manufacturing
While lean manufacturing is a popular model to improve your business, world class manufacturing (WCM) offers several key advantages. This broader look at your entire enterprise can help you gain a distinct advantage over your competitors. Design Systems Inc. can help you learn more about the differences between the two strategies and how you can begin implementing WCM strategies today.
What is Lean Manufacturing?
Borrowed from the Japanese concept of Kaizen, lean manufacturing is all about reducing waste and improving your manufacturing model. Just like the word implies, lean manufacturing focuses on cutting away extraneous steps and inefficient processes to make your entire manufacturing line more streamlined and profitable.
Traditionally, Kaizen focused only on improving quality. Lean class manufacturing focuses on improving quantity as well as quality through these basic steps:
- Reduce waste
- Improve consistency
- Reduce batch size
What is World Class Manufacturing?
A broader, more refined version of lean manufacturing is WCM. World class manufacturing companies aren’t just interested in improving their production line, but use the same basic principles of lean manufacturing and apply them to their entire business model. There are many ways to reduce waste and improve efficiency in your entire company, such as
- Build to order products
- Decrease lot sizes
- Reduce defects
- Utilize just in time strategies
- Increase employee involvement
- Cross-train teams and employees
While it can be difficult to implement these changes overnight, with time, training and a professional partner your company can improve its entire organizational flow borrowing these same techniques that have been proven to work on the manufacturing floor.
Just in time management is a critical factor to the success of lean management and WCM. This strategy focuses on reducing unnecessary warehouse costs by keeping only the raw materials and inventory necessary to fulfill the orders as they come. Long-term storage costs can eat up your working capital, and could even drive down prices if your materials are time-sensitive.
Advantages of WCM
Each industry implements WCM principles in a slightly different way. However, there are many benefits to using this strategy for nearly any industry. If your competitors are already using this management style, it’s important to keep up. Otherwise, your factory will be the one setting the pace for innovative, efficient systems.
With the help of manufacturing engineering consulting firms, your company can enjoy reduced time setting up and fine-tuning your machinery. WCM targets this wasted time and helps you uncover strategies to minimize adjustments and maximize efficiency.
Another way this is achieved is through cellular manufacturing. This process divides production elements in a way that is most efficient for your particular industry, company and product or service. Each part is then subject to thorough, routine maintenance to ensure no individual weak point can stall your entire production. Lean manufacturing may remove many redundancies from your line, so it’s essential that each employee, machine and process runs smoothly and reliably.
Increasing the efficiency of your supply line and production chain not only means just in time shipments but also includes reducing the amount of WIP materials in your factory, plant or warehouse.
With the broader vision of WCM, it’s applicable to far more industries than lean manufacturing. From industrial production lines to product development firms, this process is applicable to virtually any industry that provides a product or service.
Marketing agencies and e-commerce businesses can also benefit from these principles. Quality control, efficient management and streamlined services are all adaptable enough to fit your particular business model.
Lean manufacturing means different things to different people, but the net result is the reduction of waste – in time, money and space – in the manufacturing environment. Once a lean implementation strategy is embarked upon (by definition it is never complete, as continuous improvement is just that: continuous), the next step beyond lean encompasses more than the just the manufacturing floor, it links that manufacturing floor to the entire enterprise (ERP) from the PDM (Product Data Management), MPM (Manufacturing Process Management) and the MES (Manufacturing Execution System) – the “What, How and When” of lean for a truly World Class Manufacturing.
Improve Your Manufacturing Process Today
If you’re ready to get started with a professional manufacturing engineering and consulting firm, contact us at Design Systems. After careful research using our extensive industry experience, we’ll help you uncover best practices and dynamic ways to implement WCM in your business.