Lean manufacturing concept can be implemented in any organization. It is a proven method, used by so many companies of the world. But to use lean method effectively in your factory or organization, you need to apply some tricks and tools. These tools will be discussed in this article. There are a number of tools used in Lean Production. Most of these tools are developed by the people who are dedicatedly practising lean in their companies. So lean is a concept or philosophy in which some essential tools and techniques are used to provide efficient output in the productivity.
Moreover, lean is a world-class manufacturing process which is inventory free or stockless process. It is called the just in time production method, which saves a lot of expenses. So it is not possible to implement lean manufacturing without having the proper tools. If you just plan and hope that it will be materialized without special weapons then you are wrong. So in this article, my main endeavour will be on giving you a proper idea of the Important Lean Manufacturing Tools.
Please Read: How to eliminate the seven wastes in lean
Essential List of Lean manufacturing Tools
The tools for lean manufacturing is not limited to any certain numbers. Huge numbers of techniques are being developed frequently. If you are a manufacturer then you can also develop some tools for lean too. But it will need experience. So I will be discussing the already founded, proven methods. Let’s begin –
5s Method for workplace organizing
In the previous article about the 5S technique in lean manufacturing, I have discussed the method in details. It is very much necessary in the manufacturing in lean process. It has seven Japanese terms starting with S. It discusses mainly the organizing methods of your working area, cleanliness, removing wastages and most importantly continuous and sustainable improvement process. So without these, the lean manufacturing cannot go on. Without the implementation of 5S, there will be always a chance of stumbling when you are moving forward with the new manufacturing techniques.
Understanding Takt Time
Takt is one of the great formulas used in Lean production. It is sometimes called the heartbeat of the customer. It is the rate at which a company should manufacture a specific product or do the transaction with the customer. The formula is mathematically represented like this –
Takt = T/D
T is the time available for the product or transaction
D is the demand (may be represented in the number of units)
After applying different types of methods or tools, a process can be standardized and this standardized method can be used for sustainable development. So to get a perfect standardized method a lot of other processes are needed to be used. But when the process is standardized the total system becomes very much stable.
Poka-yoke or the prevention of the mistake
Prevention is always better than cure. This tool helps you to learn that in your manufacturing technique. A standardized machining or manufacturing technique should be developed to prevent the error in the manufacturing. For example, for the perfect machining process, the preventive measures can be- checking the drawings while machining it. But the drawings should be controlled by the authority and checked by the designer again and again before supplying it to the machine operator. This preventive tool reduces the material wastage and the finished product is much more efficient or dimensionally accurate.
SMED tool or the Quick Changeover
If a product needs a different group of works done on different machines or plants then a proper flow chart or methodology should be developed for the quick changeover. Otherwise, the production will be hampered. If a product needs lathe machine operation, milling operation and drilling operations then the machining flow chart for the product should be developed. The flow chart should be made in a way that it identifies the shortest possible time to do the changeover.
Kaizen is another tool which is a must in lean production techniques. The Kaizen benefits and its application should be introduced in every manufacturing company. It never lets the manufacturing team down. It is a philosophy when implemented, gives great benefit. The main idea of Kaizen is to maintain the continuous development. It gives you the scope of completing a single job in different ways. As a result, you can find the best and cheaper way. The workers are also motivated to learn and apply new techniques in their jobs.
Heijunka or the Workload levelling
This is a technique that teaches you that customer work orders are not consistent. So to dispel this problem a level of production quantity should be achieved by analyzing the previous data or any previous records. Production plan and actual production chart maintaining is a great technique in Heijunka. Schedule board maintaining is another process for this tool.
Total Productive Maintenance AKA (TPM)
The main target of TPM is to improve OEE or Overall Equipment Effectiveness. This Overall effectiveness can include the performance, the availability of the materials as well as quality. With the application of TPM, there won’t be any shortage of the materials as the storage of the material will be highly efficient. The maintenance of the equipment will also be highly effective. This tool also works on improving the morale of the employees. A simple example of OEE formula for machining works is illustrated here-
Overall Equipment Efficiency, OEE = A x PE x Q
A – Availability of the machines in the workplace,
PE – Performance Efficiency
Q – Quality rate.
The PDCA method
The PDCA is another great tool. The Plan, Do, Check and Act method is a great way to accelerate and standardize the production. It is one of the most effective problems solving technique in the modern day production process. While you are studying a problem, planning then implementing your thoughts is necessary. Afterwards, you can check and if the process is effective, you can use it in similar cases.
These are the most effective tools for the lean manufacturing. For more information, you can go through some reading materials mentioned below –