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Minimizing waste of resources

Following in the footsteps of Toyota, “going lean” has become the mission of manufacturers all around the world. The concept of lean manufacturing consists of a set of principles that help increase production effectivity and reduce costs. The word “lean” refers to the fact that waste (such as inventory and waiting time) is minimized. Items are produced only when customers demand them (i.e. just in time, which is another term commonly used for demand-driven production strategies). Let’s take a look at some of the main lean principles – and how Productoo Smart Factory solutions can help you go lean.

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Lean manufacturing essentials: Kanban and pull system

The kanban method regulates the flow of material by introducing cards that indicate when more goods are needed. This way there is no need for large inventories. Material can be prepared based on actual customer demand. This system also leads to reduced waiting times. When a customer order comes in, a kanban is created and enters the production process. As soon as production is finished, the goods are shipped to the customer. A continuous flow of work orders through production without unnecessary breaks is one of the cornerstones of lean manufacturing.

The ekanban application Production Control offers an extensive functionality that allows for multi-level production planning, scheduling and execution. It enables the digitalization of process workflow for both make-to-order and make-to-stock production strategies. You can use it as a standalone solution or we can integrate it with your existing ERP (SAP) or other 3rd party systems. Decide to implement it with other Productoo applications and get the most out of the Smart Factory experience.

Poka-Yoke (mistake proofing)

Making sure no mistakes are made, or “mistake proofing,” is the best way to increase production effectivity. Whether it is a lack of raw material for production, production downtime due to equipment failures, or any kind of quality defects, all errors lead to unnecessary delays and, consequently, to extra costs. A bottleneck analysis helps identify most problematic steps of the production process. You can then eliminate mistakes with the right digital solution.

Let’s take a look at an example of how it can work. The production manager is creating a production plan using Production Control. He selects kanbans and wants to assign them to production lines. Only the lines that are available and work with the particular material stay active and allow for the assignment. He cannot make any mistakes in the process. A similar principle is used in Maintenance Control as maintenance planner assigns work orders to technicians.

Visual factory

Going lean means not wasting any resources. A lot of time is wasted searching for the right data and communicating it across the factory – especially with paper-based systems. Visual indicators and notifications help you get a quick overview of the current situation and all production KPIs you’re interested in – anywhere, anytime. One of the most commonly used methods is andon, a visual signaling system that uses colors to bring immediate attention to important issues.

Smart Factory Suite applications are extremely intuitive and provide their users with a quick access to relevant data. Andon-based alert system informs them when something is going on. There is one simple rule: “Red is bad.” For example, in Production Control, a red-colored kanban is delayed and you should pay attention to it. Similarly, if you a production line is red-colored in Factory Cockpit, you know there is a problem and you should probably check on it. There is no need to search for information: you are always notified at the right time.

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