LEAN Manufacturing for Enterprise Wide Operational Excellence

Potential Value Gains – LEAN Manufacturing
Reduce production waste by more than 2%
Achieve more than 10% Inventory Reduction
Achieve 100% Zero Defect Quality (ZDQ)
Reduce process cycle times by more than 10%

Enterprise Wide Continuous Improvement & Operational Excellence

Lean Manufacturing practices have generally been adopted since the early 70’s, and has become a vital part of Continuous Improvement and Manufacturing Excellence. Continuous Improvement (CI) techniques such as 5S, Poka Yoke, SMED, and TPM are all major elements of achieving Lean practices across individual and multiple sites.
CI is at the heart of any LEAN initiative and so having an empowered CI team in place from inception is key in driving the process forward. The role of the team is to facilitate buy-in from Operators and Stakeholders so that everybody understands what impact they have in the improvement process and believe the potential value of the program, both departmentally and company-wide. Evolving an improvement culture and strategy across the whole organisation is vital to a successful CI program.

Other Lean Tools to be implemented as part of your Lean System

Six Sigma

Six Sigma describes quantitatively how a process is performing. It measures defects per million opportunities (DPMO) and a defect is defined as anything outside of customer specifications. The opportunity is then the total quantity of chances for a defect.
The fundamental objective of the methodology is the implementation of a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of Six Sigma. The use of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control) is an improvement system for existing processes falling below specification and looking for incremental improvement. Six Sigma processes are executed by Six Sigma Green Belts and Six Sigma Black Belts, and are overseen by Six Sigma Master Black Belts.

Just in time Production

JIT is a pull based system based on buying enough materials to fit into production and ensuring an even flow of materials, which results in holding less stock. Having the correct amount of materials in line with a production plan will reduce in process inventory and associated costs. Raw materials will arrive on schedule and in the planned order and amounts to go into production. An effective inventory management system is essential to improving and supporting a JIT supply model.
JIT manufacturing includes bringing together sequences such as fabrication, sub assembly, inventory, supplier, final assembly and shipping to quicken turnover, eliminate idle inventory, reduce waste, reduce money tied up in inventory, and increase efficiency to raise productivity. JIT is dependent on signals or Kanban’s, which tells production when to make the next part. JIT operations is a great way to improve inventory accuracy and achieve a better more lean material flow for greater inventory management control. JIT compliments continuous improvement and lean manufacturing by having the right materials, at the right place, and in the right amounts.


Kanban is a Pull System which enables Production to request material at the time of use. As parts are consumed within the manufacturing process, the Kanban signal triggers the delivery, both internally and externally* to the Point of Use/Fit (POU/POF). This is a supporting function to a sequencing operation which eliminates the need for multiple parts at the POF, thus reducing shop-floor inventory.
One of the main benefits of Kanban is to establish an upper limit to the work in progress inventory, as part of the ‘pull’ demand approach, inventory stock levels are also managed better and usually have smaller, faster turnarounds. Electronic, paperless Kanban systems eliminate manual entry errors and enable real-time demand signalling using a mix of technology, such as barcode scanners, to trigger materials within the production process.
A typical Kanban system marks inventory with barcodes which workers scan at different stages of the process, signalling usage. The scan sends a message to internal stores to ensure restocking of the item. Having a real-time view of inventory throughout the supply chain can significantly improve and support Lean Manufacturing processes.

Poka Yoke

‘Poka Yoke’ is a Japanese term meaning ‘fail-safeing’ or ‘error proofing’. These systems detect and prevent process errors for improved quality control and can be implemented in a manufacturing process to help an operator avoid mistakes caused by choosing the wrong part. The purpose is to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting or drawing attention to both human and mechanical errors as they occur.
There are two types of Poka Yoke systems: the Prevention (control approach) which guides the operator through a process and determines whether the correct process is being followed and prevents a defect from occurring, and the Detection (warning approach) that catches a defect which has already occurred before the goods are shipped to the customer. Devices are used to identify product defects by testing criteria such as the product’s shape, size, or colour. If the product doesn’t comply, a warning will be signalled. Poka Yoke technologies can include; electronic check-lists, locating pins, error & alarm detection, physical contact sensors – photocell, touch switches, energy sensors – photoelectric switch, proximity switch, beam sensors, warning sensors – lights, colour code, timers, detectors, readers, meters, and counters.
Poka Yoke systems have many benefits when implemented into Continuous Improvement and Lean Manufacturing strategies resulting in enhanced and controlled processes; leading to reduced rework, scrap and warranty costs, reduction of waste for improved waste management, achieving ZDQ (Zero Defect Quality) which reduces the associated costs with manufacturing defects, improves quality for sustained customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention, and achieving 100% compliance, zero defects, zero waste, zero delays to reduce overall manufacturing costs and improve productivity.

For further information about implementing LEAN manufacturing practices please call us on 01274 599955 or email us here

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