Lean Manufacturing

In recent years, many companies have started to realize that the intrinsic performances of a product or service only are not enough to ensure a competitive advantage, and that, more and more often, customer expectations can only be satisfied through a radical improvement in company processes and systems.

Six Sigma methodologies and Lean Manufacturing, both started from the streamlining of production lines, were subsequently extended to most of the processes applied in the company, adding in the last twenty years to the achievement of a significant improvement in company processes in all economic sectors.

The term “lean manufacturing” was coined by Womack and Jones in their book "The machine that changed the world", in which the two scholars were the first to analyze in detail and to compare the performances of production systems of leading global carmakers, discovering that the industrial philosophy aimed at minimizing waste up to eliminating it. This is the secret to Toyota’s success.

In the original definition, the Toyota Production System was called "Lean Manufacturing" because it uses less of everything compared to traditional mass-production: less human resources, less production areas, less investments in installations and equipment, less stocks, less warehouse space and, at the same time, it produces less production defects.

Similar results can be achieved and provided to the entire company works to identify and eliminate waste in all its activities. For example, in the production area seven types of waste can be identified that lead to reduce efficiency and performances:

- waste of raw materials
- waste caused by downtimes
- unused warehouse stock
- overproduction waste
- waste associated to inefficient working process
- useless transportation
- defective products.
 


Implementing "lean" logics at a company in order to eliminate waste requires the complete involvement, since the very beginning, of all company functions, which are asked to analyze and review the production process as a whole according to five phases:

- Identifying the value from the final customer’s standpoint;
- Designing end-to-end processes that produce value for the customer (value stream), eliminating all waste and inefficiencies;
- Creating a constant flow of activities by organizing interfaces between one phase and the next;
- Let the customers be the one to pull the process along;
- Pursuing perfection through constant improvement.

In the design area, for example, the product is develloped by taking into account problems associated with its production (i.e. DFX) thus avoiding its redesign, in other words avoiding waste caused by not having been able to "do it right the first time". In the logistics area, just-in-time deliveries are scheduled; in the quality area, defects and problems are analyzed and eliminated according to the TQM logics developed by W. Edwards Deming.

In this view, in July of 2010 Tecnomatic started a conversion project that introduces lean manufacturing logics and methodologies in the different company departmenets, gradually leading to the definition of the TPS, Tecnomatic Production System, a new way of managing the company aimed at reducing response time towards customers, increasing productivity and improving the level of quality.

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