Do you apply Lean Manufacturing in your hardware company?

The Lean Manufacturing management methodology that was born back in the 80s is still one of the most used today. For its effectiveness and also for significantly improving productivity. Find out if it could also be useful in your hardware company!

Lean Manufacturing as a concept

Lean Manufacturing as a philosophy or work methodology. It is based on the elimination of everything that has no value within a production chain. Procedures become more agile, efficient and less convoluted. Productivity increases and costs are reduced.

Did you know that this method was born in Japan? It was created by Taiichi Ohno (it was based on the idea of Ford), director of Toyota. After observing the production in some American factories, realized that there were processes that were not very useful. And that even some of them were an obstacle to production.

In Lean Manufacturing, only essential resources are used

One of the maxims of lean manufacturing is to use the minimum resources, those necessary for the company to succeed. In other words, it is about avoiding unnecessary spending.  And it does not mean that eliminating the waste (of materials or time) the quality improves. It’s the opposite!

By having only the resources that are needed, reducing production time and optimizing costs, final production improves significantly.

The main objectives of this production methodology

The objectives pursued by Lean Manufacturing integrated into the company’s strategy are:

  • Orient the company’s approach to providing solutions to customers.
  • Zero waste in time, costs, resources, and employees.
  • Discard activities, times or processes that do not add value to the final product or service.
  • Optimize production processes by analyzing strengths as well as improvement.



Lean Manufacturing Vs. Just in Time

Lean Manufacturing is based on productivity, efficiency and also on adding value to the customer. While Just in Time (JIT), a concept with which the former is often confused, focuses on efficiency.

Lean Manufacturing can be used in all departments including manufacturing, production, distribution, or marketing. JIT is more closely linked to on-demand production, as well as to the reduction of raw material and assembly costs.

Key points: how to create a Lean Manufacturing in the company?

Key ideas, techniques, methods, and resources to develop Lean Manufacturing:

1 Graphical representation of production processes

It consists of graphically representing (Value Stream Mapping) by means of a diagram the processes that take place in manufacturing. And, once you have them all, you have to analyze them in detail. So that to know if they really add value, if they should be changed, improved, or replaced.

2 Data integration

This resource tries to identify a problem by making a calculation of the resources. Searching those that are available and those that would be needed to solve that problem. In turn, we identify our opportunities for improvement and the objectives that are intended to be achieved.

3 Pull or on-demand production

The volume of manufacturing is determined by demand, that is, it only occurs when there are orders to be met. Production becomes more flexible and escalating, which helps to better control expenses.

4 Kanban

This Lean Manufacturing system allows us to have at a glance the tasks to be performed. Those that are already complete and those that are being developed right now. Kanban in Japanese means ‘board’. It will be on a board, wall or any other similar place where you put several post-it with these tasks.

5 Data management

The metrics to detail could be:

  • Production times.
  • Cycle time.
  • Machinery performance.

The parameters defined in the company allow to keep a record of all the metrics of the production. So, they help improve productivity and also decision-making.

Do you think the Lean Manufacturing methodology could help you optimize production? We can assure having an expert team in China will be profitable for your imports of furniture and construction hardware. IBMH is just what you were looking for your business. Contact us today!