Lean manufacturing is a process which looks at reducing waste within the manufacturing chain. When implemented properly, lean manufacturing can help reduce inefficiency within the supply chain and improve costs. The lean manufacturing process has three key stages:
- Identify where there is waste
- Find out the root cause of this waste
- Solve the root cause of waste
There are several ways to identify and reduce waste which are outlined below.
Just in Time methods
A method of reducing costs within the manufacturing process is to avoid holding onto stock that is not needed. Just in Time methods are used by organisations to save money by only ordering in goods and raw materials exactly when needed in the manufacturing process. These items are often used straight away, however this method requires careful timetable management as well as balancing the supply and demand needs of customers.
Improving manufacturing yield
Where there has been errors found within the manufacturing processes, employees will need to find means to improve the manufacturing yield. Improving the yield will require looking at the processes and data objectively and explore potential ways to improve the yield, such as adding more staff at peak times.
Total Quality Management (TQM)
Total Quality Management is a collective process in which all members of the organisation aim to improve the overall processes and services offered. By striving for continual improvements the manufacturing processes can be further refined and increase manufacturing capacity.
Depending on the products offered by the organisation a suitable manufacturing method will need to be selected The core methods are:
- Batch production: a set of identical items are made.
- Mass production: large scale manufacturing where a majority of tasks are performed by machines.
- One-off production: one off items are made to specific requirements
- Continuous-flow production: this is where manufacturing operations run 24 hours a day, producing a constant output of products/goods.