Talk to almost any industrial equipment manufacturer and they will tell you that implementing lean methodologies is almost impossible in their industry. Since they are making complex products, the tenets of lean technically don’t fit into their manufacturing model. Lean methodologies remove waste or time wasting activities from a manufacturing process. Doing this lowers product times and product waste. Lean advocates tend to look towards manufacturing specifically for customer demand as the way to become a truly lean manufacturing company, however, this can seem an impossible feat to industrial equipment manufacturers.
Lean, however, is not unattainable by industrial equipment manufacturers. By using an industrial equipment ERP system, lean methodologies like forecasting customer demand can be achieved. Below are 5 different lean methodologies that any industrial manufacturer could implement with the help of ERP.
- Value Stream Mapping
This technique is most helpful for identifying ways to reduce lead times. Value stream mapping analyzes the flow of information and materials required for bringing a product to the market.
- Cellular Manufacturing
Cellular manufacturing is a lot simpler than it sounds. Equipment and workstations are arranged in a way that allows for easy transfer and continuous movement of product during the manufacturing process. By doing this, less time is wasted.
This is a philosophy that encourages continuous improvement. Simply put, it asks that everyone in the company look for and suggest ways that the manufacturing process can be improved to minimize waste.
Kanban is a method for inventory control. Only as much product as needed is created and then the ERP system signals when the inventory is low, so more product can be created. In this way, there is never any overproduction and waste.
5s is a Japanese manufacturing process that emphasizes organization. The 5s refer to sort, set, shine, standardize and sustain. Every item in the building will have its own place, which minimizes time searching for much needed items and losing products, as well as keeping them in the best shape possible.
By implementing just one of these lean methodologies as an industrial equipment manufacturer, you will see a significant decrease in the amount of waste produced. An industrial equipment ERP system can help to manage these methods, making it everything but impossible or frustrating.