Lean manufacturing is a philosophy/management system on how to operate a people-based business, which defines how to improve and optimize a production system to focus on identifying and eliminating all kinds of “waste”, Defined as those processes or activities that use more resources than necessary. Identify some types of “waste” observed in production: overproduction, waiting time, transportation, overprocessing, inventory, movements and defects.
Lean focuses on what should not be done as it does not add customer value and tends to eliminate it. In order to achieve its objectives, it implements a systematic application of an extensive set of techniques covering practically all manufacturing areas: Job organization, quality management, internal production flow, maintenance, and supply chain.
Its final goal is to generate a new CULTURE of improvement based on communication and teamwork, that takes nothing for granted and continuously looking for doing things in an agile, flexible and economic manner.
The fundamental principles of Lean Manufacturing:
- Perfect quality at first: Strive for zero defects, detecting and solving problems at source.
- Minimization of waste: Elimination of all activities that do not add value and optimization of the use of scarce resources. (Capital, people and space).
- Continuous improvement: Reducing costs, improving quality, increasing productivity and sharing information.
- “Pull” processes: The processes are pulled out (in the sense of requested) by the final customer, without sacrificing efficiency due to lower production volumes.
- Flexibility: Rapidly produce different mixtures of a wide variety of products, without sacrificing efficiency due to lower production volumes.
- Building and maintaining a long-term relationship with suppliers: By taking agreements to share risk, costs and information.
Melter uses this methodology to continuously improve its operational processes through the tools that Lean provides such as VSM, 5’S, KAIZEN, etcetera. These have helped us to improve in small but constant steps, the way we link information and operations in our processes in an agile manner, as well as to focus our efforts to prioritize the most important opportunities in the processes through our personnel.