Lean manufacturing is all the rage these days, not surprising given the immense benefits it provides in terms of waste reduction, cost efficiency, and higher profitability. Considering the global market scenario, more and more organizations are going to implement lean manufacturing principles now. Small and medium enterprises especially face the need to maximize profits by eliminating waste. However, setting up a new lean manufacturing facility by building a factory from scratch requires a significant amount of funds. So we will discuss how to align operations into a value-stream layout within the existing facility.
- Get the right personnel
Since the project team will be tasked to re-engineer the facility to transform it into a lean enterprise, it should be led by your lean leader who’s an experienced project manager. They should evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current system. Typically, the team of personnel should consist of the lean leader, the manufacturing engineer, a working leader or supervisor, a senior level machine operator, and a representative from the materials/logistics organization.
- Design and implement a layout
This is the most important step as here it is defined how the facility will operate. A layout with the proposed changes must be developed with the project team. It must outline all aspect of factory design like navigation pathways, cell arrangement, electrical service, workstation docks, and storage spaces. The plan must also include risk and safety assessments, refined budget, upgrade requirements and facility structural modifications. Then, the viability of the design layout must be tested. A popular approach to project management by lean companies is developing a tollgate process.
- Set up a material handling system
An integral part of lean manufacturing is an efficient material handling system. A basic premise of lean manufacturing is shortening the time taken to manufacture the product. This is the concept of Just in Time delivery to complete customer orders faster, minimizing waste in the manufacturing process. The ability to do this partly depends on how materials are moved across the production floor. A lean manufacturing process should ensure materials are moved quickly, safely, handled without damage, and are defect free. Material handling equipment such as articulating jibs and industrial manipulators could be incorporated in the facility to ensure smoother handling of materials.
- Ensure the safety of the system
Since it is a newly developed facility with a changed layout and different practices, ensuring its safety is important. The electric wiring, placement of equipment and machinery must be regulated and checked for safety. The workers should be thoroughly trained to work with the lean facility. They should also be informed about the safety regulations and policies of the facility. This will avoid accidents or injuries in the workplace.
Lean manufacturing is the future of manufacturing. A lean manufacturing layout can be set up on a budget without making a huge expenditure.