7 tips to reduce manufacturing lead times

Principal Keyword Kaizen

It may sound ironic, that in a tough competitive environment in which firms operate, reducing manufacturing lead times occupies a singularly critical factor in distinguishing firms. From one another, as it offers a crucial ‘competitive edge’ that makes them stand out. For instance, if firm ‘A’ promises and keeps it up by actually delivering a product in a week as against two weeks delivery schedule propose by firm ‘B’, subject to other things being equal regarding price, quality, etc. Firm ‘A’ stands a better chance to secure the package and bolster its revenues.

Lean manufacturing methods including the application of Kaizen has put in place several tools to reduce the lead times in manufacturing. In this article, we offer seven valuable tips that would facilitate the winning of ‘market share’ for you. As a cardinal rule, it may note that excessive inventory in any manufacturing system exerts the ‘limiting effect’ of increasing ‘lead time’ that needs at any cost to be avoided. We start with it:

  1. Efficient Inventory Management

Excessive inventory constitutes an element of spoilage, akin to wastage, that calls for the locking of funds, not limited to cash flows, but reducing liquidity as well, requires blocking of more warehouse space and. Also, posing other issues, as deterioration in quality.

Kaizen offers ways and means to reduce replenishment lead times by changing the order processing concerning costs and needs. And tracking the inventory to meet the customers’ demands and aligning the parameters to business cycles. It also provides a mechanism to train your workforce by practically performing the required tasks with the Toyota Production System, (TPS: Kaizen).

Your focus on reducing the inventory would usher in benefits of improved on-time delivery that would in turn improve the goodwill the clients and enhance the cash flow that in turn has the potential to reduce wastage losses and costs.

  1. Reduction in time of Asset Search

Inefficient organization of work, imbalance in workloads lack of communication are some of the factors that reduce the optimal use of assets leading to their mismatch as well. This results in substantial waste, especially, when the workers search for tools or components, thus leading to a delay in the production process. It is necessary to deploy Kaizen techniques to monitor the processes and facilitate the quickening of the production processes.

  1. Maximization of Assets Utilisation

There are so many assets, like forklifts, molds, etc that are used in production. Some of this falls into the category of Capital Expenditure, (CapEx), while some others into Operating Expenditure, (OpEx). Irrespective of the fact to which they fall into, they can add up to the costs quickly. It is necessary to track not only how these assets are being used. But, also how much of them have been used to bring down the inefficiencies and improve the lead time.

  1. Reduction of Motion Waste

Managers often face operational bottlenecks in the movement of fleet traffic within industrial spaces. And a major reason for this is a lack of understanding as to how the fleet moves within industrial facilities. By identifying adhering to standard routes, it is possible to rectify this and also reduce the risk of accidents and promoting safety.

  1. Work In Progress (WIP) Flow

This has a direct relationship to determining the processing time, which would result in improvement in delivery time. This can accomplish by studying the process performed during a specific shift. And identifying the problems as congested flows and fixing them with such tools as process tracking and analysis.

  1. Using the ‘5 Whys Techniques’

Asking the question ‘why’ multiple times enables in the understanding of the problems and exploring the cause-and-effect relationship that triggers them. Here, the feedback you get from your employees/team is of immense value. As it would help you to go beyond the superficiality of an issue.

The 5 whys involve:

  • Writing down problems impacting productivity
  • Gathering the views of the employees involved in the process by making sure they are aware of the problems you are addressing.
  • Commence a dialogue with them by first asking ‘why’.
  • Jot down their answers and distinguish between the real causes of the symptomatic ones.
  • Repeat with them for 4 more times ‘why’. Which would ultimately result in the identification of the root of the problems impacting productivity and addressing them to improve the lead time.
  1. Consult experts and use appropriate software

Several intricate things impact your production efficiencies that may miss your attention. This calls for you to get in touch with experts in the field(s) of Supply chain, Operations management Lean management. They would be able to render you advise on optimizing material flows with Kaizen methods. Suggest and offer such software that customizes to your needs that would specifically suit the maintenance of work-in-progress, (WIP). In real-time, that would among other things optimize it and reduce inventory and other wastes.

The practical take away of this article are:

It enables the understanding of what could be done with Kaizen to reduce manufacturing lead time. Such a reduction can lead to responding faster to the demands of the customers. Lesser resources being employed to the work in progress, (WIP) resulting in higher cash flows to your business. The positive fallouts range from gaining satisfied customers to accelerating the growth of your business.

Other Keywords:

LEAD, KAIZEN, PROCESS, INVENTORY, FLOW, FIRM, PRODUCTION, PROBLEM, reduce manufacturing lead, manufacturing lead

 

 

 

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