Managing lean manufacturing in material handling operations
James C. Green, Jim Lee* and Theodore A. Kozman
Engineering Management Program, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, P.O. Box 44170, Room 244 CLR Hall, Lafayette, LA 70504-2250, USA (Received 17 July 2007; final version received 8 January 2009) The problem addressed by this research is to implement lean manufacturing in a material handling system of a petroleum drill bit manufacturing company. Lean manufacturing has been mandated by higher level management as a tool to be used in waste reduction. Operational group must define the objectives of lean manufacturing and deploy the tools to specific work cells. A methodology that provides operational group with a tool to assist in defining the objectives of lean manufacturing is developed. A case study is used to demonstrate the lean implementation in material handling operations. Keywords: material handling; lean manufacturing; case study; value stream mapping; diamond drill bit components
1. Introduction The proper flow of materials through manufacturing processes allows industries to generate and maintain a competitive edge. This edge is the ability to meet customer demand for on time delivery, generating good customer satisfaction. The proper selection of material handling systems and manufacturing concepts such as lean manufacturing (Hobbs 2004) help to facilitate increases in productivity. Lean manufacturing is based on the elimination of waste, both value added and non-value added, from the processes that are used to produce goods and services (Feld 2001). These lean tools also contribute to creating a safer and more ergonomic work environment. Material handling is defined, simply, as moving material. This is the popular perception that many hold, but in fact material handling includes much more than simply moving material.
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