With COVID-19 continuing to disrupt the manufacturing industry and impacting everything from supply chains to warehousing, the ongoing crisis continues to cause business downturns and force companies to rethink capital expenditures.
Lean manufacturing is just one method smart manufacturing facilities use to learn how to maximize operational excellence by removing waste, optimizing workflows, and exceeding customer expectations.
In a nutshell, lean manufacturing principles help increase process transparency by first highlighting problems, then systematically tackling and solving them. New technologies aimed at digitizing processes can enhance this lean methodology's impact by providing more robust data for better decision-making.
As lean practices continue to be a hallmark of recovery for many manufacturing operations, it is worth a closer look at how these tech tools can be used to change the face of manufacturing — for good.
The Lean Manufacturing Process — Tools for Improvement
Practicing lean manufacturing is more manageable due to several technologies that streamline workflows and business processes, provide analytical insight to control waste and tighten procedures, or concentrate operational efficiencies for cost- and time-savings.
Here are a few ways to get leaner:
Prioritize Points of Impact
COVID-19 has forced manufacturers to consider which elements of their operations are weakest in the face of uncertain supply chains and fast-paced shifts in customer demands.
Before choosing technology to assist with current challenges, it is also essential to be ready for whatever comes next.
For best results, companies need to focus on critical priorities, such as:
· Ensuring teams have the right automation — or artificial intelligence — to help them prepare for future disruption
· Automate inventory processes so operations can shift as quickly as the market does
· Improving transparency into cost overruns, error management, and process improvement
These technology and team-driven principles can help facilities stay ahead of future crises and ensure that they are in a better — more survivable — position in the event of ongoing disruption.
Focus on Flow Predictability
The manufacturing process tends to be chaotic — mainly when rapid changes in consumer behaviors, demands, or supply chain disruptions are in play.
The ability to predict flow, manage production, and make better decisions is key to surviving these roller-coaster shifts in the market or environment.
Analytical tools such as print and document management allow manufacturers to plan and schedule to meet these shifts head-on.
Having a solid plan of attack in the event of forced changes increases profitability and reduces waste for operational enhancements that help your facility gain a competitive edge.
Choose Low-Cost Tech to Reduce Time Waste and Human Error
Using lower-cost technologies such as mobile printers or barcode scanners can vastly increase a company's operational efficiency by speeding up production, reducing labor costs, and ensuring that inventory is counted correctly, tagged, shipped, and invoiced.
These printers can reduce cross-docking efforts to eliminate workflow bottlenecks and free employees to work more efficiently.
Another tech such as document or content management software is also a good choice, as they provide auditing and analytic capabilities that give clear visibility into daily processes and operations.
Using the data collected, decision-makers have the insight needed to make choices that promote better workflows and reduce the potential for critical human errors.
Blue Technologies — Your Partner for a Clearer, More Profitable Future
At Blue Technologies, we understand the ongoing challenges faced by our manufacturing clients as they bravely move forward through these current economic lows.
We also understand the importance of making sensible, high-impact decisions about your technology spend when following the principles of lean manufacturing.
For that reason, we offer several products and services that we can bring together for a customized, cost-effective approach to helping you "lean out" your operation.
From cost-saving communications such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems and video conferencing solutions to managed services such as document and print management and managed IT, our team of experts can help you use state-of-the-art technology to strengthen weak areas.
Infrastructure, tech devices, software, and services represent a four-pronged, holistic way to take your manufacturing facility to the next level regarding quality, efficiency, cost savings, and customer satisfaction.
Get the technology and service you need to drive true operational efficiency. Contact a Blue Technologies consultant today and discover how to practice lean manufacturing on an amplified scale.