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Nov 3, 2010

8 Lean tools

The lean enterprise is a concept of organizations that consider any activities other than those that create value to the end customer as wasteful and superfluous. Typically the lean organization will focus on the seven wastes as defined within the Toyota manufacturing system and attempt to reduce or eliminate these through the use of standard tools and techniques.

There are a variety of tools and techniques associated with lean production / lean manufacturing however the following 8 are perhaps the most commonly used and easy to implement.

1/ Pull Systems

Pull systems create an environment where material or work enters a process at the same rate that it exits – A typical pull systems used in lean manufacturing is Kanban.

2/ Continuous flow manufacturing

Continuous flow manufacturing involves movement of material during the manufacturing process moving from value add process to value add process without leadtime / transport time or storage in buffer.

3/ Setup reduction

Manufacturing processes typically includes some time for the setup of machines or tools it’s typically measures by the total time taken from the completion of the last good part to the first good part from the new setup. Reducing setup time increases capital availability and capacity and reduces lead-time and labor required.

4/ Error Proofing
Error proofing is an approach for identifying and rectifying errors before they reach the next stage in the process or the customer.

5/ Total Productive Maintenance

Maximizing operational effectiveness of manufacturing equipment can enhance capacity and ensure that parts are made to the correct quality at the rate required. This might typically include maintenance prevention programs i.e. designing or operating tools and equipment to reduce maintenance but increase performance/life.

6/ Standarized Processes

Generic standard processes across a manufacturing site ensure that a process is optimized with material, operators etc and is completed the same way each time – minimizing failures and the requirements for rework.

7/ Value stream mapping

The mapping for information and material flows within a manufacturing process – a tool for understanding bottlenecks and constraints.

8/ 5s

A process for cleaning and standardizing the workspace ensuring only what’s required is placed on the workspace and that tools equipment have a standard place and can be found when required.