Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Company lean culture

An important and sometimes forgotten ingredient in making any strategy work is company culture and failing to bring people on board to participate in the continuous improvement process. This at times can be difficult as there are people who will resist change. These people are demotivated and can be a challenge to get them to participate in the lean manufacturing improvement process.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Replacing old machinery

Machinery is one of the most important factors in a producing good quality products and producing them at low cost. Most machinery and plant can be depreciated over 10 years and some large industrial plant and equipment over more. The actual rate of depreciation should match the use of the machinery during its life minus any scrap value. All plant and equipment should be maintained properly and effective monitoring put in place to detect any premature wear and maintenance requirements. This is one aspect in attaining a reliable plant and being able to produce effectively in a lean manufacture system.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Unreliable Plants in Lean Manufacturing

The unreliability of a plant can be detrimental to the process of continuous improvement, specially in a continuous or continuous batch process due to the limited material/ WIP flow alternatives within the process. Many plants may be old and have new technologies fitted to old backbones which can also compound the problem. It is a great advantage in having at least plant up times of around 95% because this will allow engineers to implement quicker change over times and improved cycle times.

The Lean Journey understanding the process

Understanding Lean manufacturing goes beyond having a knowledge about the different techniques available to improve efficiencies in a process or manufacturing operation. It involves a commitment by both management, operating and support staff in learning and understanding the process in question and being able to utilize engineering resources and knowledge in achieving a reliable plant or system in order to facilitate lean initiatives. This first step of understanding what the organization is dealing with is important because one can not fix the problem if you do not know where or how the problem is being caused. The second step, and a very crucial one in this journey is engineering a system or plant to be as reliable as possible. Until this is achieved any jump towards the use of any lean technique is destined to fail because of the unreliability of the system you are trying to improve.
Lean Manufacturing

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lean pitfalls

Going lean? or trying to cut waste and improve operational efficiencies in any production process or service process is a pathway and journey and not a quick fix.
Many managers get excited and use all the buzzwords in meetings and setting their strategy for a lean business. The truth is not many managers really understand the Lean manufacturing concept and few allocate the required resources and steps into creating a sustainable lean culture. One of the very first steps in this pathway is to achieve consistent plant up-time through an appropriate maintenance review program which should aim at making the plant and equipment reliable and minimizing downtime. This is a very important step in the process because if this can not be achieved further efforts and lean applications will be worthless.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lean Manufacturing concept

Some people ask,” why lean?” Lean means producing things/ services more effectively by reducing waste. Waste as we know is products or actions that do not add value to the company. To create a lean manufacturing or service, it is critical to have an overview of the whole process from start to end. That can be done by using lean methodologies which have been successfully proven.

Here is how to use a lean manufacturing concept. First of all, Analyze the whole production process and draw it on paper so that the value added and non-value added processes that are embedded in the whole process can be easily located. Once, the non-value added processes are identified, they should be removed. By doing that, the throughput time can be reduced and the overall process would be improved.

The focus of having a lean process is to eliminate problems such as bottlenecks, high work-in-process inventories, long lead times and many more. Census data shows by removing most of these problems companies realizing improved performances relative to productivity, speed and quality.