Here’s something you can cut out and hang on your bulletin board if you run a manufacturing company, large or small. I’ve spent nearly 60 years thinking about the factory floor, and here’s how I believe it should be run.
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At UGN, one of our core operating principles is sustainability. That means minimizing waste to improve efficiency, add value, and refine the manufacturing process for our automotive products when and where we can.
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.
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.
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.
Secure, accurate workholding sets the stage for consistent machining productivity. Depending on the parts and processes involved, workholding can be as simple and temporary as a plain vise or clamp or as complex and permanent as a machined and fabricated fixture that is custom-designed to hold a unique part.
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.
At Lyall, we’ve been manufacturing components in the natural gas distribution industry for over 45 years, and we’ve spent the past 16 of those years implementing lean manufacturing principles in everything we do.
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.