Eagle Alloy has been practicing lean manufacturing for close to a decade. Beyond the benefits to productivity and efficiency imparted by lean tools, Eagle companies have come to see lean manufacturing as part of their company culture. The inclusiveness, creativity and quality improvement they’ve been able to foster has paid off dividends, both in workplace atmosphere and customer retention.
Lean implementation makes a more dependable supplier
Almost all the way back at the beginning of Eagle Alloy’s lean journey, about six months into their implementation of cellular manufacturing, the company was already seeing a noticeable productivity boost. They came into contact with a potential customer—we’ll call them Company A—who scheduled a shop tour at Eagle Alloy. Company A was already a successful manufacturer, but their casting supplier had recently gone bankrupt and they were looking for a replacement.
The history of lean manufacturing dates back at least to the 1700s, when Eli Whitney developed interchangeable parts in order to deliver a massive order of muskets to the American Army.
It wasn't until 1988 that John Krafcik coined the phrase "lean manufacturing" in his research as an MIT student. For most of the 20th century, lean manufacturing was tied closely to industrial innovations in the United States and Japan. While it wasn't called "lean" for many decades, American and Japanese automakers laid the groundwork for the tools of lean manufacturing that we use today.
As you can see below, Eagle Alloy's achievements in 2017 include:
- 96.4% delivery – 2nd best in company history
- 1.87% scrap – BEST in company history
- 2.64% returns – Best in last 10 years
- 97.4% audit score – Best in last 8 years
- .27 PPM resulting in complaints – BEST in company history
Lean Manufacturing principles encourage maximum efficiency for just about any production facility. Lean Manufacturing is also more of a necessity than ever, with cutthroat competition across the manufacturing industry forcing all players to up their efficiency levels.
If you're worried that your company isn't lean enough, take a look at these five tools from the Lean Manufacturing playbook.
Lean manufacturing helps manufacturers improve efficiency by eliminating waste in the production process, but what exactly is lean manufacturing? Is it a product, a procedure, a religion?
None of the above. Lean manufacturing is an adaptable set of “tools” that can be applied to any system of manufacturing–whether that system produces spring coils, jet engines or blog posts. It starts with identifying waste in a production process, and then focuses on eliminating that waste bit by bit until production is as streamlined and efficient as possible.
Efficiency is good for any business. It doesn’t matter if your company is manufacturing or service oriented. Greater process efficiency always offers a wide range of benefits over "business as usual."
On a broad level, manufacturing more efficiently can help cut costs, improve throughput and reduce environmental impact. All of these general benefits lead to additional benefits down the road, from increased sales and quality to improved company image.
Read on for 9 ideas to improve manufacturing efficiency.