Lean manufacturing is a method where there is a consistent attempt to seek out ways to do things better, faster, cleaner and more cost-effectively, without compromising on the quality of products. Much of its impact is in the elimination of non-value processes and steps, to streamline operations effectively.
The principles have been around for decades. However, lean production processes are not always authentically or consistently applied in all sectors of industry. Yet, it can provide discrete manufacturers with a vital competitive advantage, transforming their operations and improving profit margins.
That’s because contemporary lean manufacturing uses integrated and well-configured technology to create data flow end to end, offering ever greater levels of business intelligence.
Here are some of the benefits that discrete manufacturers can gain from being lean.
Transparency and control of discrete manufacturing
Discrete manufacturing has predefined and prescribed components and processes to achieve a uniform result. This involves the creation and assembly of distinct products that can be put together and potentially disassembled if required.
Integrated and well-configured technology will enable lean manufacturing practices, as it allows data from production, inventory to financials, to flow end to end, offering ever greater levels of business intelligence. It can track a component as small as a bolt to a critical part of the product.
Lean manufacturing principles are both driven and supported by the Industrial Internet of Things and advanced production software.
Early adoption of the IIoT is to be found in both discrete and process manufacturing. The ability to automate many of the steps involved is advantageous not just in reducing the wage bill. Robotics, manufacturing ERP software and other technological developments considerably increase productivity and reduce errors and waste.
Another advantage of lean manufacturing is that it gives discrete manufacturers an improved ability to identify issues quickly and respond decisively; from the way your inventory is managed, right through the quality control of finished products to dispatch.
Manufacturing ERP software harnessed to lean principles can drill down on the most complex and otherwise ambiguous problems. It may even help solve issues that were never noticed before.
Manufacturing companies that use software for production management can have access to in-depth and rich business data which can be collected and analysed in detail for real-time decision-making and assist in forecasting and planning.
Having the information available when needed will give manufacturers greater confidence, when researching and developing new products, change production plans to introducing operational changes. This ultimately provides a greater platform for business growth and development.
Prioritising and goal setting
Discrete manufacturers must optimise their production processes, materials and time. Demand for products can fluctuate in unpredictable cycles, and some companies must be ready to fulfil large orders at short notice.
By adhering to lean manufacturing processes daily, production planning can be continuously updated, so response times and decisions made can be considerably quicker.
Lean manufacturing offers a more agile production process. With the support of well-chosen software, organisations can adapt to threats and opportunities with equal speed and efficiency.
A shift in operations does not have to be the major upheaval it once was, helping your workforce embrace change more easily too.
All the advantages of lean manufacturing hinge on the Manufacturing ERP systems you use. It’s imperative to have software that is suitable and scalable to your business. From this, comes a level of control that makes change and growth relatively effortless.