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Lean Manufacturing Tips for Solving Manufacturing Challenges

Category: Blog, Manufacturing

The development of manufacturing strategies that ingrain quality and speed each step of the way is driven by customers and their needs. Lean manufacturing gives producers of goods a proven strategy to satiate customer demands while protecting themselves from cost overruns or production delays. These pillars of manufacturing success are only achievable using proven lean manufacturing tips that have emerged over the past decade.

Solving manufacturing challenges for smaller run production facilities doesn’t have to mean stretching already-thin budgets. The creation of a lean production blueprint that contains the most common principles of lean manufacturing can become a powerful tool, helping to maintain product quality while reducing wasteful operational steps. Applying these core principles to your design and production processes will enable you to go toe-to-toe with larger, more established competitors.

Solve Performance Tracking Issues Through Modernized Metrics and Objectives

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How do you know there is a problem if no one tells you that there is a problem? This has been a question asked by manufacturers for decades, and yet no one seems to have a conclusive answer. Fortunately, there are ways to gain the kinds of valuable insights needed to make the appropriate changes that can help you avoid wasteful practices like production idle time or ineffective quality control standards.

First, ask yourself what your objectives are; for example, what are you trying to accomplish in production? Using production pilots is an accepted lean manufacturing method used to accurately establish objectives and goals. Pilots allow you to isolate consistent behaviors in production and to weigh these against notable areas of improvement. 

You can then use these manufacturing results as baselines for measuring goals and for the establishment of metrics. You’ll next need to examine how you are measuring and tracking metrics. Metrics give you accountability and visibility into each process and task from start to finish. Although the field of metrics can vary wildly, some notable ones to include in your measurements are:

  • Labor hours per production unit
  • Cost of quality
  • Supplier defect rate
  • First Pass Yield
  • Customer complaints and service requests

These work together to provide you with a winning combination of realistic production targets and powerful tools to properly measure the success of each production run. Building these items will help you to recognize potential defects, areas that need to be targeted for a redesign, and even if your product would be better served by outsourcing all or part of your project to an experienced manufacturing consultant.

Create Consistent Design and Production Tasks

Nothing will derail a project faster than having a lack of consistency lead to severe flaws or missed production timelines. Standards are established because of their ability to define a precise list of tasks that are vital for driving projects forward. Standards are a critical component of lean manufacturing, as they govern task hand-offs, establish measurements used to define success, and set the proper configuration for timelines.

Having a consistent playbook for the product design process, from the earliest brainstorming session to the end of the production line, keeps things on track. Lean production becomes viable, as the integration of well-defined metrics and objectives work with clear-cut standards to make cost overruns and production delays things of the past. The process of getting a product out of a CAD design and putting it onto a delivery truck happens faster and with better quality.

Aligning design and production tasks through the use of a set of agile manufacturing standards can be accomplished by keeping your focus on these few areas:

  • Define tasks that are smaller in ambition and thus can be executed with greater focus and attention to detail. This has the benefit of eliminating unnecessary or redundant steps within larger tasks.
  • Establish continuous monitoring of metrics and timelines to keep tabs on everything in real-time.
  • Use the results of your monitoring to make proactive changes that introduce gains in quality and production speed.
  • Hold a regular review of how project members, from the design team to the line worker, are trained and held accountable to meet your defined lean manufacturing criteria for success.
  • Add automation into any processes possible.

These are just a handful of ways in which your project team can realize the maximum potential of the lean manufacturing controls you put into effect. These will help you to achieve a nonstop cycle of checks and balances that places you on the path of continuous process improvement. Properly executing all of this will yield a solid framework for a lean manufacturing strategy that will evolve alongside your products and processes.

A Manufacturing Partner Will Provide Additional Lean Manufacturing Tips

Lean manufacturing is a set of methods that are focused on the maximization of manufacturing production while minimizing costly practices. Although this can mean different things to different manufacturers, the goal remains the same regardless of the production setting or the product. On-boarding an experienced manufacturing consultant will help you to determine which lean manufacturing tips best apply to your situation, and which you can confidently take a pass on.

Do you need your questions answered about which lean manufacturing principle applies best to your situation? The experienced engineers at Pacific Research Laboratories are standing by to do that and more for your manufacturing project. From design and development through prototyping and manufacturing, we are here to help you bring your products to market. To learn more about our services, please visit our contact page or call (206) 408-7603.