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Lean Manufacturing

lean manufacturing

During the last decade, businesses have grown competitively and in sophistication. Today, no business wants waste and inefficient processes because they reduce profitability, hinder growth and competitiveness. While every business aims strongly to improve the top line, there is always significant effort expended to reduce costs to improve the bottom line.

As Taiichi Ohno, former industrial engineer and Toyota executive said, “Costs do not exist to be calculated. Costs exist to be reduced.” Today, companies use two methods to improve processes and efficiencies in manufacturing, both aimed at improved productivity and minimize waste: lean manufacturing and Six Sigma.

What are Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma?

Lean and Six Sigma are similar concepts. Both are effective and both seek to create the most efficient systems possible and to eliminate waste. Often, the two overlap and often both are used together. Both use deliberately planned ways to get work done. As baseball humorist, Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”

Lean manufacturing is specific to manufacturing processes and focuses on maximizing production while minimizing waste and saving costs against that waste. It aims to create the highest possible output without any sacrifice to quality. “Do more, use less” is the central theme of lean manufacturing.

Six Sigma, on the other hand, is considered to be a broader process used in manufacturing but which is also applied to business (production and non-production environments) as a big picture strategy approach that uses statistical models. It applies evaluation and adjustment to cut costs, improve processes and maximize production. “Consistent quality” is the central theme of Six Sigma.

Lean Manufacturing identifies seven areas of waste that need to be controlled:

  • Waiting time between steps of production.
  • Inefficient transportation.
  • Inefficient motion.
  • Over-processing.
  • Excess inventory or excess work-in-process.
  • Too many defects.

Six Sigma involves a six-step process improvement plan based on statistical analysis:

  • Define a problem and how it affects the current process.
  • Measure current data to see what specifically is working sub-optimally.
  • Analyze the data in order to get to a workable solution.
  • Come up with solutions that can be applied and tested to achieve improvements.
  • Control the processes and continue to make improvements over time.

Often the Lean and Six Sigma approaches are blended to improve business processes, reduce costs, improve profits and achieve other potential benefits.

Why is Lean Manufacturing Important?

Lean manufacturing aims to:

  • Identify what is perceived value to the customer and deliver it to them.
  • Get more done with fewer people.
  • Improve quality with fewer defects.
  • Reduce waste.

Lean manufacturing works because it:

  1. Helps bring issues to the table by focusing on both data and verifiable experiences.
  2. Provides an orientation to rational decision-making, solving problems with data.
  3. Helps simplify complicated issues by asking repeatedly, “Why?”

Why Precision Metal Stamping is a Lean Manufacturing or Six Sigma Process

Precision metal stamping produces complex, accurate metal parts both quickly and efficiently. It is an industrial manufacturing process that produces customizable parts with tight tolerances. Parts are produced cost-efficiently, using less scrap material. Precision metal stamping delivers high-quality using a highly automated process.

Seek Proven Lean Manufacturing Expertise for Precision Metal Stamping Needs

Contact Velocity Metalworks, serving the Greater St. Louis area and the Midwest. We have been recognized as a valued partner in the metal stamping industry for our strong tool design and build competency. With our metal stamping capacity, precision machining services and EDM capability, we provide the superior experience, precision, and quality you can depend on.