Lean manufacturing or lean is the process of minimizing waste in a production facility without affecting productivity. Nowadays it has been one of the best business ideas in India due to several reasons with benefits. Let’s have a look at how lean manufacturing got introduced and what are the challenges included:
What is waste in a manufacturing unit?
Wastes, also known as “Muda” in Japanese, are of 7 types. Taiichi Ohno, the Chief Engineer at Toyota, first identified these 7 types of wastes. He implemented his waste management techniques in the mid-1950s which came to be known as Toyota Production System (TPS).
The seven wastes that Ohno identified include:
- Excess inventory – Excess inventory is one of the major problems that manufacturing units face. It not only takes up more space but also increases lead times.
- Overproduction – Producing more products than required is the simplest meaning of overproduction. Overproduction can make manufacturing more expensive for a plant and lead to degeneration in quality.
- Inappropriate Processing – Numerous manufacturing units utilize overpriced machinery to process their products. Cost-effective and similar equipment can perform the same functions.
- Waiting – Waiting occurs when goods in a manufacturing unit are not moving or under processing. Several reasons can cause waiting like prolonged distances between workspaces, elongated production phases, etc.
- Defects – Defects are one of the factors that can cause significant loss to a company. It can lead to recalls, re-inspection, inventory quarantine, etc.
- Excess Motion – Excess motion relates to the various movements a worker has to perform that can affect his/her safety and health.
- Unnecessary Transportation – Excess transportation in the production line causes the quality of a product to degrade.
Eliminate all of these seven wastes, and you will know how to save costs with lean manufacturing. This can bring in operational excellence for your company as well.
However, abiding by lean manufacturing principles also involves several obstacles that businesses have to overcome.
Some of these challenges include:
1. Latest technology
A considerable portion of lean relies on state-of-the-art technology and automation. These technologies include not only machinery but also systems and software. The correct systems are essential to monitor and improve the output quality continuously.
However, these technologies come at a substantial cost. Hence, integrating lean manufacturing tools can become a burden for some.
One of the solutions that companies can opt for is a business loan. Various NBFCs like Bajaj Finserv provide such loans for up to Rs. 30 Lakh within 24 hours.
2. Employee training
Lean is a combination of automation through advanced technologies and skilled employees. Technology is easily available, but workers are not.
Properly trained and educated employees are critical for lean. They are the ones who integrate lean through correct design and inspection of the technologies. These employees also hold considerable knowledge of diagnosing faults in machinery.
However, hiring qualified employees is again one of the major obstacles. One must ensure to employ the right talents and train them accordingly.
3. Inventory management
Another critical aspect of lean is the elimination or reduction of storage time of inventory. This can be both for raw materials and the final product. For this reason, the TPS was originally known as just-in-time production.
Companies need to make sure that stock comes in at the right time before production begins. Also, products should leave the unit at the correct time to reach the customers. Combining these two involves proper coordination with suppliers and dealers which can become a challenge for many businesses.
Lean manufacturing is one of the best manufacturing business in India. But other than the above, there can also be several challenges to lean manufacturing like opposition for employees, cultural problems, and high overall expenses. As a business owner, you should be aware of these factors to implement lean effortlessly.