The concept of Lean Manufacturing is based on the ideas of Toyota car manufacturing system.
The key principles of lean manufacturing are reduction of all costs, optimization of production; involving employees in the process of enhancing enterprise efficiency.
Virtually, implementation of lean manufacturing can boost labor productivity by up to 400% during the first year. Using even one of its principles can increase the efficiency of the enterprise by 30-50%.
First of all, it is necessary to analyze the current situation in the enterprise and prepare tools for further monitoring. For example, to implement a system for personnel and equipment– for monitoring all employee actions and transport movements, estimate the time costs for various operations and identify weak points. Such an analysis helps to define:
Step 1. Creating a visual diagram of the product. It is necessary to display: each stage of information and materials flows, the duration of the stages, the time that is required for the transition between them. At this stage some changes can be done to optimize the process.
Step 2. Identifying the pinch points. This can be inefficient use of personnel and equipment, nonoptimal equipment placement, standard manufacturing errors, unused units in production areas.
Step 3. Visualizing the business processes. At this stage, you can mark the boundaries of objects on the floor, highlight the most dangerous equipment, specify the storage locations for the tools, set up stands describing the algorithms of all technological operations, showing pictures of defective products and other instructions.
Step 4. Simulating the processes, we are taking into account the reduction of costs during transport, relocation and waiting. At this stage, you can test different algorithms to compare the performance in practice, evaluate the efficiency of various ways to optimize production.
Passing through these stages allowed the candy manufacturing company to:
reduce the number of employees in the production line from 15 to 11 people
increase production from 6000 to 9000 sets of confectionery products
increase enterprise productivity by 35-37% without launching additional lines
Using the same algorithm, a large distribution center has improved its warehouse areas. Within a framework of lean manufacturing implementation, the indexes of trestle numbers were installed in the warehouse of the company and also traffic patterns were posted on the territory.
Additionally, storage areas were redeveloped. As a result, drivers spent less time on the territory of the center, and thanks to redevelopment, it was possible to reduce the warehouse area by more than 30%.
One of the largest logistics centers in Russia has gone all the way to implementing the concept of lean manufacturing. The key goal was to accelerate order batching, to reduce the risks of re-sorting and non-provisioning.
The management of the enterprise has implemented the above-described algorithm, and also carefully studied improving proposals of the employees and the results of customer surveys.
As a result, the following solutions were applied:
Pick-to-Light technology. During the order picking process a light signal lights up above the cell with the desired products. The operator presses the button to switch the light off, confirming that the goods are packed.
Distribution of goods by zone. Depending on the popularity of the goods, it falls into one of three zones, a fast one - 20% of the goods, which need to complete 80% of orders, a total of 30% of goods that need to be put in every tenth order, less commonly used - with less popular goods.
The principle of "close at hand." The top-selling goods are located at arm's length, and even to take products from the top cell, it is enough to use a footstep.
Visualization. In the order-picking zone the floor is marked and there are other additional signs, all intuitively understandable even for beginners. Most of the nameplates can be moved to another zone if necessary, to redistribute flows or personnel.
Workflow for packing waste. All used packaging (corrugated card) is automatically delivered to the pressing area. This reduces the time spent by personnel on its packaging and reduces the level of air pollution. Pressed cardboard is sold to partners for further processing, and this also brings some extra income.
Weight control. The orders are weighed and the result is compared with the predicted rate, which is defined as the sum of the weight of each position. If the weight does not match, the order is sent for an additional check.
Special floor covering. As the employees of the warehouse are the whole day on their feet, there is a special orthopedic floor covering to reduce the burden on legs and spine and also to prevent the risk of injury due to the anti-slip surface.
Clear data on labor productivity. The speed of order-picking of each line is displayed on the monitor in real time. This creates a competitive effect and makes the KPI system more transparent for employees. Furthermore, the management can assess the performance of each collector and identify weak points in the line.
Involving employees in the optimization process. The employees are encouraged to put forward ideas on how to constantly improve the performance; they are rewarded even for the ideas that will not be implemented.
Due to implementation of the above-listed solutions the logistics center has reduced personnel rotation. The ergonomics and operational safety have been enhanced; the number of complaints from customers related to incorrect ordering has been reduced. Within six months after the lean manufacturing implementation, the productivity in order-picking sites increased by 20%.
This and many other examples confirm: Lean Manufacturing really enhances the efficiency of the enterprise. Ultimately, it is important to involve employees and high technologies, analyze every business process in the company, take care of customers and contractors and be ready for large-scale positive changes.