Lean Manufacturing began with Toyota in Japan and stems from the realisation that waste has to be avoided at all costs. Lean takes into account what Toyota saw as “the seven big wastes”:
Overproduction – Uses material needlessly & ties up capacity, increases inventory
Inventory – The more that you hold the more you pay.
Transportation – Poor layout, double handling, long move times and distances
Bad Quality – Defects, re-works, replacement parts, no standards
Processing Waste – Overmanning, product run-in, adjustments, set up problems
Operator Motion – Lack of training, non-standard methods, poor morale
Idle Time – Breakdown, set-up, minor problems, waiting

Lean Manufacturing is an aim, supported by applicable tools and techniques to remove all types of waste and to enable concentration on value added. Lean was founded on the concept of continuous and incremental improvements on product and process while eliminating redundant activities and improving workplace functionality.

There are numerous tools and techniques associated with Lean Manufacturing, the following are 3 such tools which C&G International has successfully deployed within various Caribbean companies who manufactured a range of products including; ice cream, pepper sauce, rum, beer, soft drinks and bottled water.

5S This aids workplace functionality and unhindered product flow. Implemented in sequence they seek to; 1) Sort the workplace, 2) Set or Systemise everything, 3) Shine or clean up, 4) Standardise with rules and standards and 5) Sustain improvements by creating self-discipline.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Is a performance metric which focuses on the true performance of individual equipment and machines. It requires the monitoring of set up times, idle times, minor stoppages, good units produced and machine speeds. The OEE is measured as a percentage and the goal is to increase the OEE to above at least 80%.

Rapid Changeover (SMED) Changing over from one job to another involves set up, in many instances set up times can be long and so there is a tendency to produce more products that are immediately required in order to reduce the set up cost per unit. This produces large inventories, increases the inventory holding cost and is certainly not conducive to Lean Manufacturing.

To take advantage of SMED; firstly prune the product range and only produce what is needed in the short term, secondly concentrate on setting up the production run whilst the machine or line is running by; getting, tools, filling head attachments, bottles, caps etc. ready local to the production line and, thirdly only operations like changing the filling heads should be performed while the line is stopped.

To find out more about how Lean Manufacturing techniques can be applied within your organisation Contact C&G International Inc.