In manufacturing industry, the manufacturing facilities are the backbone of their business or more specifically speaking directly responsible for their growth and development. So, if you seek to develop or to get more opportunities in business your prime focus should be on its manufacturing technologies, the more effective technique more you see growth in business.
Lean Manufacturing, a very effective and powerful manufacturing technique that has proven its effectiveness in terms to maximise business growth and development. It is focussed production practice involved in generating value to end user and the things which don’t contribute to value are categorised as waste and need to be eliminated. Basically, this technique keeps the value of customer need as its goal.
The definition of lean manufacturing is based on some principles. The principles as illustrated in the book “The machine that change the world” from MIT are as –
• Specifying Value – As defined by the end customer.
• Identify & create value stream – All actions required to create product from raw material.
• Making Value Flow – Product should be produced at the rate of customer need (minimum inventory or delay).
• Pull production not push – Production as required by customer.
• Striving for perfection
This method was previously used in general but not recognized as Lean Manufacturing till ‘90s. Lean targets to make the task simple so that it can be understood easily and can be done and managed without much difficulty. Lean deals in getting the right thing to right place at the right time in the right quantity to make better flow of work, eliminating the wastes and making the process flexible.
Talking about flexibility Toyota makes it an example, which used lean-to cut bottlenecks at car body molding presses in early ‘60s.They used Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) as a quick and rapid way of changing one product to another in a manufacturing process. This doesn’t mean that changing takes only one minute. The bottleneck rose due to long tool changing time. Eventually, this increases the production lot size. And this long time results in higher cost of production. Moreover, Economic lot size is the ratio of real production time and the change over time. At that time Toyota also faced the problem of space for storage of vehicles as it had uneconomical lots.
With the introduction of SMED this uneconomical & large lots were reduced to smaller lots. Toyota initiated re- engineering of their shop floor, worked in the process of generalizing tools and vehicle components. Also, developed SOP for assembly lines with minimum steps these eventually reduced tool changing time and economic lot size to below one vehicle. This helped Toyota to maximize its business opportunities in the global market later on.
As discussed the concept of lean manufacturing and taken up the case study of Toyota it reflects that if we use manufacturing technologies in an effective way it will definitely maximise business opportunities and thereby help in growth and development.