Lean manufacturing principles and automation systems can coexist, although many lean purists contend that lean goals conflict with using automation. Smart applications of automation, however, can result in deployment of systems that are both automated and lean, with flexible manufacturing systems that can be easily reconfigured as factory operations change.
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Process improvement encompasses a wide range of tools, techniques and strategies. When properly deployed, shop-floor data collection and monitoring systems can help factory-floor managers leverage key data metrics including overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and total effective equipment performance (TEEP) that measure machine uptime and pinpoint bottlenecks or other problems in order to improve machining performance.
Taiichi Ohno is often quoted as declaring: “Without a standard, there can be no improvement.” The principles of lean do not work well when everyone is allowed to choose their own work method or work sequence in which to do a job: the outcome is unpredictable; flow and pull are impossible. This reduces throughput and the carefully crafted process develops unanticipated outcomes.
Common misperceptions about lean manufacturing and automation systems lead many manufacturing managers to dismiss the use of automation in a lean setting.
Effective milestones are an important part of a company’s development process, especially in today’s era of team-based sprints and stand-ups. Yet many companies struggle to successfully create and employ milestones; and some don’t even understand their relevance beyond updating senior leadership.
Dunnage used to ship and process automotive parts on the shop floor is a key component in the overall manufacturing process, yet it is often overlooked when companies are working to make lines lean and green. Today, it is important that manufacturers know that most dunnage used to transport parts from start to finish can be reused for the lifetime of production.
Waste isn’t to be found only in a company’s operations and manufacturing activities. It can be a drag on innovation in the R&D department as well. As businesses in every sector make their way through an uncertain economy, launching new products that deliver value to customers and create new revenue streams is a critical but difficult task.
Stability on the floor, and all of the subsequent positives associated with stability, are the objectives of this lean tool