Consistently High-Quality Products
In today's global environment, customers need manufacturers who can do more with less. As a result, Lean manufacturing has emerged as a means of getting more from value streams (or value chains).
The “value-stream” is the whole path material flow from original raw materials sources all the way through manufacturing to the end customer. This moves well beyond the Just-In-Time (JIT) method of parts stocking. In theory, Lean manufacturing is a philosophy of eliminating waste at every juncture where it occurs across the entire value stream. In practice, Lean manufacturing principles are optimized through the supply chain.
As with any lean initiative, it all starts with understanding "value" in the eyes of the customer. Value must be translated into common objectives for all employees; anything that does not contribute value must be eliminated.
The key objectives of our lean manufacturing layout and flow are to deliver a high-quality, low-cost product quickly, while maintaining a safe and pleasant working environment. These layout and flow improvements are typically described as follows:
• reduction in throughput time, cycle time or lead time;
• reduction in the cost of space, inventory and capital equipment;
• increase in capacity utilization;
After analyzing our facility layout and flow to identify productivity improvement opportunities, we implemented the following key principles:
• Minimized material handling, distances, storage, clutter and strain - A Kanban has been put in place to avoid walking, carrying and minimize storage space for raw material, WIP, finished goods and spare parts throughout the supply chain. Work benches are ergonomically designed to avoid back and other muscle strains. Everything has a home, from parts and tools at a workstation, to equipment and product within designated floor spaces.
• Maximized utilization - Optimized use of people, space, and equipment to improve the return on investment.
• Maximized flexibility and agility - The key to lean is creating a layout that can adapt quickly to changes in product, equipment, personnel, or material.
• Maximized smooth flow - Identified and eliminated bottlenecks at the facility, then re-balanced the line.
• Maximized visibility - Continuous effort to spot problems, and maintain a clear line of vision at all times.
Analytic Systems also utilizes the following process concepts in day-to-day facility operations:
Under JIT, product is "pulled" through the plant at a rate equal to the rate that sales are generated. A customer order creates demand for finished product, which in turn creates demand for final assembly, sub-assemblies, and so on up the supply chain to raw materials. This pull system significantly reduces the need for building inventory.
Instead of the traditional batch movement of product between work centers, one-piece flow uses a lot size of one. This increases the speed and predictability of the production process, and dramatically reduces WIP accumulation if the process is properly balanced.