Business Automation and Software Blog

Improve Productivity with Lean Manufacturing and Infor VISUAL

Posted by Robert Baran on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 @ 03:45 PM

lean-manufacturingMost manufacturing companies understand that in order to win new customers and increase sales, you have to compete on lead times, delivery and price. This can be a difficult task when paired with the regular chaos that comes with unexpected occurrences such as customer emergencies, machine breakdowns and inventory delays. In order to efficiently manage these unexpected occurrences and stay on target with production, manufacturing companies need to implement a visual manufacturing ERP solution designed with manufacturing in mind.

Infor VISUAL supports the principles of lean manufacturing and can help you avoid those dreaded chaotic situations on the production floor. Infor VISUAL’s Easy Lean is a scheduling method that works directly with Infor VISUAL manufacturing to help your company gain better visibility that encourages better decision making, releases inventory at optimal times, and creates a smoother production flow.

In order to succeed in the ever-changing marketplace, many manufacturers are focusing on the principles of lean manufacturing to reduce their inventory levels, improve their on-time delivery performance and cut their lead times. While incorporating lean manufacturing will not guarantee you a top spot in the marketplace, it will streamline your processes and improve your productivity dramatically.

A lean manufacturing business process is comprised of the following 5 key principles: 

  1. Determine what creates value from the customer’s perspective. 
    Make sure that you are creating valuable products for your customers. In order to produce products of value, you must first understand what your customers’ find valuable. Take the time to explore this with your customers before you fall into the trap of making inaccurate assumptions. After all, the products you create must be valuable in your customers’ eyes for you to be successful. 
  2. Identify the process steps needed to create valuable products. 
    This principle is commonly referred to as “value stream”. This is where you will begin to identify waste (or non-value added steps) in your processes. This principle is achieved through a process called Value Stream Mapping, which is a method used to understand and record the flow of all materials and information needed to get the product into the hands of your customers.

    For each product, you will draw a current value stream map detailing the current steps, delays and information flows required to deliver the product or service. This could be a production flow tracking the raw materials to the consumer, or it could be a design flow detailing the product or service from launch to conception. After you have created your value stream map, you will need to asses your current steps and eliminate any waste. Once you've identified and eliminated all waster, you will need to draw a new value stream map outlining your new steps and procedures. 
  3. Make those manufacturing business processes flow. 
    This principle is all about using your resources effectively to create processes that deliver “value”. Through a variety of continuous improvement tools and techniques, your goal in this process will be to eliminate anything that results in waste or delays. 
  4. Produce only what is pulled by the customer. 
    Once you have improved the way your processes create value and reduced the lead time of those processes, you can begin linking your processes directly with your actual customer demand. The ultimate goal of this principle is to produce only what your customers order, resulting in little to no inventory resting in your system. 
  5. Strive for perfection by continually eliminating waste. 
    This principle is all about continuing to strive for the perfect processes long after you’ve implement lean manufacturing strategies. Periodically evaluate your processes and eliminate any waste that you come across. If you continue to do this, your warehouse will operate at maximum efficiency and keep your place in this competitive market.  

Manufacturing companies can benefit greatly by implementing lean manufacturing business process principles in conjunction with Infor VISUAL. Take a look at the following benefits Infor VISUAL’s Easy Lean can bring to your company:

  • Avoid waste capacity by building to demand rather than forecast
  • Reduce lead times
  • Provide visibility into materials and production
  • Enable you to respond quickly to the market

The right manufacturing software solution makes all of the difference. Learn more about Infor VISUAL.

Learn more about incorporating lean manufacturing principles into your business processes today. Download our whitepaper, “Best Practices for Lean Quality Management”, to discover how lean manufacturing can transform your business. 

Free Whitepaper Download ► ► Best Practices for  Lean Quality Management

Topics: Manufacturing ERP Software, lean manufacturing