One of the most important things in a manufacturing company in order to obtain profit is to have a high level of quality and a minimum level of investment. This is the key that every company wanted to find during the years. In order to maintain a high position on the market and a competitive advantage, the implementation of a manufacturing strategy is very important.
The history of lean operations
One of the first who found a solution in eliminating waste and developing mass production by saving time and money was Frederic Taylor, who invented the concept of scientific management by determining the optimal work model after various experiments. Henry Ford was the first who implemented this concept in manufacturing the T model in 1920s. His concept about saving time and money was by using two methods. Ford identified that there were two basic ways to build an automobile: one was to keep the automobiles fixed while moving the assembly workers around and the other was to keep the assembly workers stationary while the automobiles where moved around. However, Ford realized that by moving the workers around the automobiles he was wasting a lot of time. Four steps were issued to the workers. Some ropes were installed in the warehouse in order to move the cars easier, making each worker stationary. The rope was divided into 15 parts, each one lasting one hour. This would allow the cable to move around every hour, by moving workers to the next process of manufacturing. The distribution of the assembly parts to their correspondent processes was done before needed. Three of four workers were aligned to each process (www.beyondlean.com). After the implementation of the rope the total production was minimized from 13 hours to 5 hours per car. After 100 years, the base concept of eliminating waste remained the same, but industrial innovators have constantly focused on improvements by using different manufacturing strategies. The lean manufacturing strategy uses as a concept the production of a high level of output with a minimum level of inventory. Furthermore, the Toyota family developed a new concept of lean operation, called Toyota Production System. This system implies the use of some small cards or even visual signals called kanban( coming from Japanese) meant to guide the workers from the beginning of the process until the end, making easier to follow the steps of production and also eliminating waste in time.
The concept of lean operations
The whole concept of lean operations is based on minimizing cost and maximizing profit. This also implies eliminating waste and overproduction as much as possible. In eliminating waste, a lean manufacturer seeks to provide also the optimum quality of the product; therefore, each part needs to be examined during the manufacturing process. Furthermore, in case any imperfection is found, the production line stops immediately in order for the problem to be solved instantaneously. In a lean manufacturing operation, suppliers deliver a small amount of products on a daily basis and the machines are not necessary to run at their maximum level of capacity. Thus, a tight relationship with the suppliers is needed, this implying an easier and faster flow of products delivered.
Through a combination of Just In Time (JIT) and kanban-controlled production ( Toyota Production System), the Lean system becomes one of the most used in manufacturing companies. Lean operation method is so demanded and it proves to be very productive due to the high level of utilisation of manpower, more productive equipment and reduction in investment. There are three steps in implementing the lean manufacturing system: 1.Design simple manufacturing system
Flow Material, is one of the most important processes in the Lean system. The concept is based on the rapid flowing of the manufactured goods through the production line without any interruption. This way the...
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