One of the most important movements to influence American manufacturing in the past century is the introduction of the lean manufacturing philosophy. Lean manufacturing, a systemic approach to reducing waste and increasing profits, was taken from the Toyota Production System, an approach developed by the Toyota company in the 1970s, which lead to decreases in production costs and increased competitiveness with American automobile manufacturers.
Of primary importance in lean manufacturing is a focus on increasing value, while eliminating waste. Companies that embrace the lean manufacturing ethos can expect to realize incredible savings in raw materials and labor costs, as well as costs associated with energy consumption, equipment depreciation, and transportation needs. Precision Clamp has long embraced the lean manufacturing movement and integrates these principles into the production of our SCR Heat Sinks every day.
Lean manufacturing focuses on eliminating the seven wastes, or “Muda.” Since Precision Clamp first begun implementing these principles in our manufacturing of SCR Heat Sinks, we have been able to pass on the savings to you, our loyal customers.
The Seven Wastes
Every time an item is moved, it risks damage and delay. For example, every time a pallet of our SCR Heat Sinks is moved around our warehouse, we risk damaging the items through a collision, fall, or by placing another item on top of the pallet. In addition, once an item is moved away from the manufacturing or loading area, it takes a significant amount of time to locate the item and move it to the location where it is needed.
In addition, there is a significant cost each and every time you move an item. In order for a pallet of SCR Heat Sinks to be moved, you must have a licensed forklift operator take control of the machine and take the time to move the items across the warehouse floor. This costs man hours, restricts movement within the warehouse, and leads to wear and tear on the machine.
If an item is not actively being manufactured or transported to its destination, it is considered waste. It is taking up space that could be used for production or another profit-generating activity. Lean manufacturing seeks to reduce this waste by shortening the time between an item being manufactured and delivered to its destination.
Over processing includes traditional forms of waste, such as excess scrap materials. In addition, over processing can include features that are not used by the end consumer and are therefore not necessary.
The vast majority of manufactured items spend most of their lives in waiting. Streamlined production processes and transportation helps to eliminate this form of waste.
Motion includes any damage from the production process, including depreciation of the machinery, wear & tear on items such as the assembly line components, and injuries to your production line staff.
Overproduction is considered to be the most important Muda in the manufacturing process, as it leads to all other wastes. Overproduction typically occurs when more of an item than necessary is manufactured. When this happens, the excess product must be transported or stored, leading to a decrease in profits.
Defects can double the cost of a product in many cases, and include the need for reworking or remanufacturing a product, rescheduling a production time, causing a longer production time, or requiring additional man hours.