+Vantage Corp is no stranger to using automation, integration and intelligent manufacturing techniques to keep your business moving along as best as it can, but how does our brand of bespoke automation solutions fit into your lean manufacturing process? In this blog we’ll discuss the lean manufacturing definition, how lean manufacturing techniques are implemented, and how +Vantage works with you and your lean manufacturing teams.
What is Lean?
Colloquially, lean is used as shorthand for any series of changes to your manufacturing process that help it run more smoothly. However, the full picture is more complex and powerful than that.
Lean manufacturing is commonly credited to Toyota and their Toyota Production System (TPS), also known as Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing. The TPS system’s origins date back to Sakichi Toyoda’s automated loom, and Toyoda’s drive to eliminate defective products and inefficient operation. Improvement is structured around the identification and reduction of what is known as the “7 Wastes.”
The 7 Wastes consist of the following:
- Inappropriate Processing
- Unnecessary Inventory
- Unnecessary Motion
Reduction of these wastes can often be accomplished through simple steps, such as avoiding overproduction, not investing in more complicated tooling than is required, and re-arranging your manufacturing space such that minimal motion of material is required between stations.
Lean Manufacturing Examples
While it sometimes can be difficult to understand the value of lean principles, a case study displays the undeniable benefits.
The Food Bank for New York City feeds 1.5 million people every year, all off of the charitable donations of individuals and corporations. In 2013, in addition to their monetary contributions, Toyota also offered the organization the services of their TPS engineers. The results were remarkable. Wait times for food were slashed from 90 minutes down to 18.
Similarly, after the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, Toyota provided their TPS engineers to relief efforts, reducing the time to pack boxes of aid supplies from 3 minutes to 11 seconds. This is the power of lean in action.
Lean Manufacturing Techniques
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In the modern era, lean is a sacrosanct principle at many firms. It is often taught through such programs as lean six sigma; so named for its goal of reducing all deviations within six sigma of the norm. Training and mastery of the system is organized into a martial-arts-inspired belt system (if you’ve ever wondered why your colleague suddenly lists a black belt on LinkedIn).
Lean is now also fully intermeshed with the machine learning and AI dependent principles of Industry 4.0, as numerous lean software suites from such names as Siemens exist to autonomously and intelligently integrate these systems into your existing process flow.
How Does +Vantage Bring Lean Manufacturing Tools to You?
Here at +Vantage, we consider lean principles during the design of our bespoke systems, even from the first meeting where we lay out the requirements for your system. Many of our systems are designed for automated handoff and handling, with systems integrated to transport parts directly from tool cell to tool cell. To provide the best systems for our partners, we build on the principles of reducing unnecessary motion, transporting, and waiting.
When eliminating defects, automated manufacturing systems reduce manufacturing defects through automatic tool compensation, while our multiple inspection systems allow you to choose the inspection technologies best suited to meet your product and manufacturing techniques and reduce defects. Taken together, +Vantage provides the ideal suite of tools for implementing lean manufacturing techniques into your process.
If you want to learn more about the +Vantage process and how automation can benefit your lean manufacturing system, download our ebook explaining the powerful services we offer. For any other questions, or if you’re ready to take your process to the next level, contact us today!