Nanoplas, Inc. - Lean Manufacturing IM Overview

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1 Lean Manufacturing IM Overview

2 Overview of Lean Manufacturing Lean Manufacturing is a general term applied to the latest methods of manufacturing designed to maximize value and minimize waste. It is a management philosophy that concentrates on eliminating wastes and increasing efficiencies. This report will provide a summary of common terms and techniques that can help injection molding companies learn the skills of achieving zero waste in the workplace. Definitions of Terms in Lean Manufacturing Value: in terms of the lean manufacturing systems, value refers to what the customer is ready to pay for. A company needs to survey what the customer needs and then focus all its energies and resources toward that valued good. Waste: is the opposite of value. In a lean manufacturing system, everything that lands outside the value that was assigned to a particular good is deemed a waste. Additionally, anything that the customer is not willing to pay for is also a waste. The elimination or reduction of waste can manifest itself in at least eight different categories: 1. Overproduction Overproduction is the production of a particular good or resource in higher levels than necessary. The customer will only buy what he or she needs, and goods that are overproduced pile up as leftovers and potentially become waste. Monitoring how much of a specific product needs to be produced is a process accomplished by lean manufacturing. It saves money, space, and time in the production process. 2. Inventory Problems in inventory arise when the stock is less than the market or customer s demand. This is the opposite of overproduction. Requiring a customer to wait for an out-of-stock item creates a bad image and may result in losing that customer. Lean manufacturing involves analyzing the problematic parts of the organization, including the production department, making an assessment of the most inexpensive yet effective solution and implementing it within the organization. This technique will organize the production to potentially eliminate both overproduction and inventory issues.

3 3. Defects Defects are one of the biggest problems in manufacturing, and eliminating them can obviously save huge amounts of time and resources. Lean manufacturing systems decrease defects in manufacturing by improving processes and applying automation in specific areas. This decreases the potential for both human errors and tooling or machinery malfunctions. 4. Extra Processing Extra processing is a term used for processes that are considered redundant. This redundancy can be solved through lean manufacturing systems simply by identifying what specific processes are no longer needed in the manufacturing line. This, in turn, cuts down on the opportunity for defects. 5. Waiting Time Waiting time is the unnecessary time spent along the manufacturing line. This is another form of waste, and cutting this waiting time can speed up production time. When a customer orders a particular good, a company will have to manufacture it and deliver it on time, and extra loops decrease that ability. 6. Underutilized People When manufacturing becomes more self-sufficient, companies must be aware of underutilized employees whose skills can then be focused on other company needs rather than being wasted by a more efficient and mechanized system. Part of the lean technique is to become aware of extra resources and be able to implement them elsewhere. 7. Motion Related to waiting time, the motion of the manufacturing line or product workflow is another concern for lean manufacturing systems. The processes must be streamlined, and lean strategies have born solutions to cut down unnecessary processes, saving more time. 8. Transportation Lean systems are also concerned with the transportation wastes that a manufacturing company produces. Lean systems have eliminated a variety of the problems by focusing on manufacturing and operations per plant so that each plant can act independently and optimize to each environment and workflow.

4 Benefits of Lean Manufacturing: There are many benefits to implementing Lean systems in an injection molding operation. Better lead-time More flexibility Increased sales (due to better lead times and scheduling) More efficiency of production Fewer mistakes in production The internal benefits of lean manufacturing systems include reduced space needed for operations, as well as improvements in quality, reduced equipment down time and reduced costs. In addition to the above advantages, lean manufacturing has helped companies with documented scrap reductions of 90%+, reduced set-up times by over 80% and improving lead times by 50% or more! Using lean systems, some companies have achieved 20 inventory turns per year, accelerating their cash flows and reducing overall expenses. CHECK LIST Below is a Quick Lean Opportunities Checklist. Simply check the box next to the category where you think you can improve through lean implementation. Overproduction does your plant tend to produce more than needed or ordered? Inventory Are you able to fill orders from inventory quickly? Defects Do you have a high rate of scrap or defects? Extra Processing Are you taking extra steps that could be eliminated? Waiting Time Do you have significant waiting or delays in your processes? Underutilized People Do you have people that would be better doing other, more productive things? Motion Are you wasting motion (and time and wear and tear)? Transportation Do you have parts or processes that must be transported for no obvious reason?

5 Lean Manufacturing Techniques & Programs There are different types of lean manufacturing concepts and implementations that are relevant to injection molders, which we ll cover briefly in this section. The methods mentioned here are only a few of the available options: 1. 5S (Five S ) 5S is a simple and highly effective set of lean techniques that remove waste from the work environment through better workplace organization, general cleanliness and effective visual communication. The 5S s stand for: Sort (Eliminate all unnecessary tools, parts, etc..) Set in order (also referred to as Straighten or Streamline arranging the workers, parts, equipment and instructions in such a way that the work flows free of waste through the value added steps to meet demand) Shine (Clean the workplace and all equipment after each shift) Standardize (Consistent and uniform procedures and set ups throughout all operations this promotes inter-changeability and cross functional flexibility) Sustain (Disciplined adherence to 5S rules and procedures) With these goals, the 5S program positions the lean manufacturing method within the framework of these principles and the improvement of values in the organization. At the core of this program is an intention to achieve an easy flow of products in the company with small groups. Cleanliness and a well-defined set of procedures and processes are necessary. 2. Kaizen Kaizen in Japanese means improvement or change for the best. This technique is applied as a part of the system level approach to improvement. A Kaizen event also known as Kaizen Blitz is a focused short-term project that is made to improve and quicken the process of a certain department. It is often part of a continuous improvement program in manufacturing environments. 3. Hoshin Kanri This type of lean manufacturing technique creates an aligned team to make employees feel part of the development of the system. Because of this, the smaller units of the corporation help higher management achieve goals more effectively as new Kaizens are identified and implemented all consistent with the vision and strategy of the company.

6 4. Kanban This is a technique that focuses on the pull system of an organization. Kanban represents the visual aspect of the physical storage locations that are often used in the supermarket business. Kanban works to establish and maintain the interactive relationship of the products from the customer to the supplier. Lean manufacturing techniques use the kanban scheduling systems to make a more efficient way of stocking raw and WIP materials and warehouse goods to the point of use, shipment or purchase. 5. Set-Up Reduction (also known as Single Minute Exchange of Die or SMED) This is a lean manufacturing technique that is often ignored. When the company doesn t have a standard or set of procedures to follow on the start of any working activity, time is wasted. Set-Up Reduction mitigates this problem by allowing employees to get used to a new system and then practice it frequently for more efficiency. SUMMARY Lean manufacturing has the potential to dramatically improve the manufacturing process of almost every injection molding plant. By eliminating waste, increasing efficiencies and reducing scrap, the entire plant can benefit. Take your first step to getting a leaner and more effective company by considering how adopting and implementing lean manufacturing techniques could impact your plant. About Nanoplas Nanoplas, and the our integrated family of products for the injection molding industry are all designed around the idea of increasing the productivity and efficiencies and reducing scrap and set up times. They can help manufacturers move to a lean process in their organization. To learn more about our innovative products, visit us, or call us at

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