Using lean manufacturing strategies produce a number of advantages, which go far beyond simply reducing costs. Looking for efficiencies in the manufacturing process can lead to significant improvements that reduce manufacturing time or enhance the quality of the finished product.
So what trends are driving today’s lean manufacturing strategies? Why have so many companies jumped aboard the proverbial bandwagon?
Here are 4 trends that are causing more companies to adopt lean manufacturing in today’s world:
The Green Trend
Corporate Social Responsibility, sustainability, Triple Bottom Line – these buzz words that can no longer be ignored by businesses, big and small. Being environmentally conscious is a growing trend (and for good reason) that is impacting every industry, including manufacturing.
With lean strategies, the environment is as big a benefactor as a company’s bottom line since the core principle of lean manufacturing is to reduce waste.
Redesigning core manufacturing processes, packaging, and transportation policies can not only cut costs, but also reduce a company’s carbon footprint and make better use of precious natural resources. As a result, the business’ green reputation is boosted.
The Bottom Line
The global economy has not been fair to businesses.
Budget cuts have necessitated layoffs and slashed certain business expenses in an effort to remain profitable.
With an employment outlook in the manufacturing industry that is only slightly better than grim, it’s largely from necessity that companies are looking to lean manufacturing strategies as a method of continuing to be operational within tighter budgets.
The Impact of Improved Technology
An increase in technological advancements and innovations mean more emphasis is increasingly being placed on tools to monitor, control and automate processes.
With lean manufacturing software, manufacturers can better match production to demand; and can reduce inventories, raw materials and the need for human intervention in production processes.
This removes the potential for human errors to cause delays and enables companies to respond more quickly to market changes.
The Philosophy of Quality and Efficiency
Lean manufacturing is as much a philosophy as it is a strategy for eliminating waste and smoothing production processes.
And within this philosophy are a growing number of worldwide quality and efficiency related trends, such as Six Sigma, Distributed Order Orchestration (DOO), and the Theory of Constraints.
All of these strategies continue to grow in importance and have precipitated a move towards manufacturers believing in the fundamental philosophy of improved efficiency and greater quality processes.
Many manufacturing companies, whether forced into lean or not, have taken it on as a challenge to create greater efficiencies within their operations.
These are some of the major trends driving the growth in popularity of lean manufacturing.
There are certainly other trends. Please share your thoughts below on what you believe them to be.
Author Bio: Lee House is the Vice President of Advanced Manufacturing Software, a manufacturing management software solution powered by Microsoft Dynamics AX that supports next generation lean manufacturing practices.