Lean Manufacturing 2.0
Manufacturing companies have been striving for perfection as they adopt continuous improvement for efficient practices. In such practice, managing production efficiency means how fast can your products go to market with less costs and how you achieve high quality whilst shortening lead times. Thus, it will create competitive advantage in such fast-paced marketplace.
The Lean Approach
Essentially, lean manufacturing’s ultimate purpose is to achieve high customer satisfaction by manipulating Quality, Cost, and Delivery (QCD). However, your customer’s perspective may depend on the product that you are delivering. Someone looking for a new smartphone may put quality first, while the consumer that needs a new bed may want it tomorrow rather than having to wait 3 weeks. Of course the person looking for a “consumable” pen may only be motivated by the cost.
Lean Manufacturing is all about reducing waste and doing things efficiently without compromising quality of the products. Being competitive in a market where everyone else is fighting requires a lot of flexibility and effort.
Fundamentally, when you implement Lean Manufacturing you have to gather all the waste information related to your production process that doesn’t add value to the end product such as production data, downtime report, quality report, etc. Some manufacturers have been doing so and create continuous improvement initiatives based on those data throughout the supply chain yet they gather their production process data heavily rely on people, in other word, that is error-prone. This will lead to chronic problem solution that unsolved the root cause problem.
In fact, managers often make an assumption based on invalid data about the improvements that could be achieved from going lean and see dozens of things that could be quickly addressed with a little Lean treatment. Like wise man once said “rubbish in rubbish out”. Hence, visibility tools are essential to make a manufacturing companies run in a Lean-like fashion and considering the need of strong data collection capability to ensure accurate and timely information flow on production floor.
The Next Level of Lean
Industrial Internet, widely known as Industrial Internet of Things, discloses all kinds of possibility such as the ability monitor production process from raw material to end product after they have been purchased. Constant exchange of data will allow manager react and take initiative in real-time through the information gleaned from connected devices. Thus, provide unprecedented opportunities to enhance production process and reduce waste.
According to Terence Burton, acts as CEO of The Center for Excellence in Operations Inc, organizations that successfully leverage the Internet, mobile technology, business analytics, digital performance dashboards, and integrate other enabling technology with strategic improvement end up with a much more advanced version of lean and continuous improvement in general. Furthermore, the Industrial Internet of Things will undoubtedly play a large role in evolving lean to a higher order, enterprise-wide and technology-enabled paradigm of improvement.
Data will be the new raw material for manufacturing companies in lean efforts as they have to deal with 3 Vs of data; volume, velocity, variety. With the help of manufacturing analytics (big data) such as Machine Vision, will give manufacturing companies the ability to optimize data and leverage it as part of lean methodology. The platform should be capable of analyzing both structured and unstructured data from the edge (sensors, PLCs, etc.) and automatically provides patterns and detects anomalies in real-time that contribute to creating more lean operations and enhancing process.
The benefit of Industrial Internet of Things could be enormous and implemented in many different use cases within the supply chain; pre manufacturing, manufacturing process, and post manufacturing. In addition, the ability of AI to predicts events and waste before it actually occurs will help companies to achieve world class manufacturing title and improve continuously.