The concept of lean manufacturing, or lean as it is sometimes called, has been around for decades and focuses on streamlining production to improve value and productivity while minimizing waste. From a lean perspective, waste is considered anything that does not add value. Whether OEMs perform production in-house or outsource to a contract manufacturer, like RiverSide Integrated Solutions (RIS), it is important to understand lean concepts and how they can give your team a competitive edge.

What are the Key Strategies of Lean Manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing offers an array of benefits. When lean principles are applied, sources of waste are reduced, or even eliminated, improving operations efficiency and product quality – adding significant value for customers. With shorter production times, manufacturers are more nimble and able to respond to customer needs and market conditions. Additionally, lean strategies can be applied to supply chain and product development processes, leading to quicker speed to market and a significant competitive edge.

·Increased Quality: improved efficiency makes personnel and equipment available for innovation that would have otherwise been wasted.
·Faster Speed to Market: as manufacturing processes are streamlined, OEMs can better respond to fluctuations in demand and other market variables, resulting in fewer delays and better lead times,
·Sustainability: less waste and better adaptability makes OEMs better positioned to thrive today – and tomorrow.
·Improved Bottom Line: more productivity with less waste and better quality makes for a more profitable company.

Looking for a trusted contract manufacturer with a lean manufacturing
approach?

Contact the team at RIS to learn more about our complete manufacturing
solutions and our commitment to quality.

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Benefits of a Lean Approach in Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing offers an array of benefits. When lean principles are applied, sources of waste are reduced, or even eliminated, improving operations efficiency and product quality – adding significant value for customers. With shorter production times, manufacturers are more nimble and able to respond to customer needs and market conditions. Additionally, lean strategies can be applied to supply chain and product development processes, leading to quicker speed to market and a significant competitive edge. Increased Quality: improved efficiency makes personnel and equipment available for innovation
that would have otherwise been wasted.

·Increased Quality: improved efficiency makes personnel and equipment available for innovation that would have otherwise been wasted.
·Faster Speed to Market: as manufacturing processes are streamlined, OEMs can better respond to fluctuations in demand and other market variables, resulting in fewer delays and better lead times.
·Sustainability: less waste and better adaptability makes OEMs better positioned to thrive today – and tomorrow.
·Improved Bottom Line: more productivity with less waste and better quality makes for a more profitable company.

Types of Waste Common in Manufacturing

Identification and elimination of waste are crucial to the success of lean manufacturing. There are several types of waste that are often identified when a lean approach is used in manufacturing, including contract manufacturers, and below are some of the most common.

·Waiting: this applies to personnel or machinery. When time is wasted by waiting on machines to be available or materials to arrive, the efficiency of the facility suffers.
·Unoptimized Inventory: too much or too little inventory both lead to inefficiencies.
·Inefficient Logistics: logistics includes the workflow of the product on the manufacturing floor but also extends beyond the facility to include the acquisition of raw materials as well as the transportation of the final product to the customer.
·Over-processing or Over-engineering: the objective of manufacturing is to meet specifications per the agreed upon design. There is often a significant amount of wasted time, equipment and resources spent on over-engineering and over-processing a product.
·Unnecessary Motion: this can be wasted motion of personnel or equipment. Reducing unnecessary motion is key to improving the entire manufacturing supply chain. Facilities that are organized and laid out well excel in this area.
·Defects or Other Quality Issues: scrapped products and rework of off-spec products can be a huge area of waste if quality control is not properly built into the manufacturing process.

Examples of How Contract Manufacturers Apply Lean Principles

Let us now discuss some practical ways that lean principles can be applied to manufacturing. When lean principles are applied, sources of waste are reduced, or even eliminated, improving operations efficiency and product quality – adding significant value for customers. With shorter production times, machine shops are more nimble and able to respond to customer needs and market conditions. Additionally, lean strategies can also be applied to the entire supply chain, leading to quicker speed to market and a
significant competitive edge.

·Establish a Lean Culture: each contract manufacturer has its own culture that permeates into every aspect of the facility including the manufacturing process. It is important that all levels of the organization participate in the lean culture from management to the production floor. It is important to explain to personnel why a lean approach and efficient manufacturing is critical to business success. Personnel need to know that if they identify an improvement opportunity their ideas will be heard and considered. At RIS, a key focus of our lean manufacturing approach is maximizing customer value while minimizing waste – and we empower every employee to make a difference.
·Organize the Facility for Success: the physical layout of a manufacturing facility and the workflow path a product takes directly impact productivity, namely the level of unnecessary motion. Contract manufacturers that apply lean manufacturing principles should follow raw materials throughout the manufacturing process to better understand areas for improvement. Simple measures like the location of equipment can have a huge impact on manufacturing efficiency.
·Optimized Maintenance Plan: contract manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the downtimes and costs resulting from unexpected equipment failures, and are implementing a combination of preventative and predictive maintenance plans to secure a competitive edge. Maintenance programs that rely solely on manual data entry and tracking are slow and are often too “reactive” in nature – it is key to integrate smart, condition-based monitoring systems into existing manufacturing processes. These smart programs provide contract manufacturers with scheduled maintenance events based on known wear, use or observed conditions as well as dashboard monitoring and trends. The bottom line is to be proactive rather than reactive to achieve lean manufacturing.

About RIS

RIS is an advanced contract manufacturer providing robust solutions in circuit board assembly, product assembly, kitting, supply chain management, fulfillment, distribution, and reverse logistics. We employ more than 300 people and provide services to OEM’s across the world. We operate 3 state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities within the U.S, and as your one-stop-shop we have the capabilities, capacity, quality assurance standards, and resources to provide you with support for all of your manufacturing
needs.

With all of the choices in contract manufacturers out there, we know it can be difficult to find someone that not only understands your business model but also has your best intentions in mind. RIS has proven to always be a win-win focused relationship. As your one-stop-shop, we have the capabilities, capacity, quality assurance standards, and resources to provide you with support for all of your manufacturing needs. We understand that supply chain management is difficult and very time consuming, so we urge our customers to utilize us in the fullest capacity. Our total-package solutions include:

  • Extensive supply-chain network
  • Purchasing and inventory management
  • Dedicated Program Manager
  • Warehousing and drop-shipping capabilities
  • Flexible order fulfillment
  • Product assembly: sub-assembly and full product
  • Scalability to meet your needs

Contact us today at (507) 523-3220 to see how we can help with your manufacturing project, or click here for a quote.