A common misconception about LEAN is that it’s only about quality or continuous improvement. And some believe that LEAN manufacturing process is only about the concept of “just in time delivery.” These are aspects of the overall LEAN manufacturing process, but there are so many other aspects that make up LEAN. We look at LEAN manufacturing from a holistic viewpoint. This includes all of the above aspects and more. Quality, continuous improvement, and just in time delivery are all a part of our manufacturing DNA. Below are some other misconceptions of LEAN manufacturing that we’d like to correct.
LEAN is a fad that management discovered then forgot about: We began working with a LEAN manufacturing model more than 15 years ago, and have experienced a steady increase in our capabilities ever since. Our processes implemented in 1998 have continually been improved in step with our customers and suppliers as they have evolved. Most organizations that have implemented LEAN manufacturing processes into their work place know this is more than a fad; it is an entire process package for moving the business forward.
LEAN requires manufacturing processes to do more with less: This is not true. Although finding areas of waste is part of our process improvement, removing waste from the manufacturing process improves finish time, increases factory space which in turn adds capabilities, and changes the thinking of those involved in the manufacturing process, so that improvements continually are found and implemented.
LEAN is costly and time consuming: This is incorrect, by adhering to LEAN manufacturing processes we are able to both save time and money. These savings are then passed along to our customers. All of our manufacturing processes are reviewed to find cost savings and to find areas where we can reduce overall manufacturing time without reducing quality.
Through our process improvement, one of the primary benefits we’ve been able to accomplish is reducing our need to store parts and components, as well as our completed inventory.
Our steady improvements over time have translated into new capabilities we couldn’t have imagined when we first started this LEAN process improvement journey. As an example, today, we are proud that we can ship orders tailored to specific customer requirements between 48 and 72 hours!
In addition, because we have achieved high quality and reliability, our customers can implement their own LEAN “just in time delivery” strategies. They know if they place an order with us, they’re going to get exactly what they need, exactly when they need it.
We could not have met these expectations had we not continuously worked to improve all our capabilities. There are always new challenges, but also new rewards. In our experience here at Dart Controls, the ROI from using the LEAN approach just keeps getting better.