What Is Lean Manufacturing? Tips on how to Streamline with Versatile Automation

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September 27, 2021

Lean manufacturing shouldn’t be a brand new time period within the business—lean methodology has been round for the reason that Nineteen Nineties, and it has roots relationship again to early 1900s vehicle manufacturing, with Ford’s meeting line and the Toyota Manufacturing System.

However as shoppers maintain the strain on producers to be aggressive by way of an elevated reliance on e-commerce, fluctuating order volumes, and demand for customized orders, lean manufacturing is extra essential now than ever. 

What’s lean manufacturing within the context of your materials dealing with facility, and how are you going to make the most of automation to convey the methodology to life to streamline your group?

Versatile and Lean Manufacturing Outlined

Lean manufacturing, additionally known as lean manufacturing, is typically used interchangeably with versatile manufacturing, however they’re truly two totally different philosophies. 

  • Lean manufacturing maximizes throughput with fewer assets and accomplishes it in much less time and with much less effort than different strategies. It usually requires versatile instruments that may steadiness materials stream and sustain with the tempo of manufacturing.
  • Versatile manufacturing allows firms to react to adjustments. Manufacturing facility employees can leverage the methodology to develop the manufacturing course of or change workflows to fulfill buyer demand, which retains prices down.

When deciding on which method to take, facility managers fortunately don’t have to decide on between the 2—an operation could be lean and versatile. The trick is to search out the perfect lean instruments that assist you to accomplish probably the most quantity of duties as shortly, effectively, and cost-effectively as doable with out compromising security. For long-term success, the lean instruments you select should be versatile and agile to answer the quickly evolving facility panorama. 

That is the place autonomous cell robots (AMRs) are available in. Handbook materials motion is a big useful resource expense and doesn’t present any buyer worth. An agile AMR resolution ticks all of the lean and versatile bins and addresses this expense by serving to firms transfer supplies effectively and safely whereas supporting efforts to be attentive to the wants of shoppers, particularly with regards to custom-made orders.

Listed below are simply two of the methods AMRs may also help you obtain a lean and versatile manufacturing system:

1. Lowering Lead Time

Reducing stock to ranges which might be conducive to your operation will scale back lead time. The pull system is a lean manufacturing approach used to scale back waste within the manufacturing course of, the place amenities make a product based mostly on precise buyer demand. The pull system signifies that the ability received’t home a big surplus of merchandise, permitting more room to be dedicated to the areas that immediately result in getting clients what they need.

AMRs excel in this type of manufacturing course of. Automating the transport of supplies and merchandise in amenities reduces operational prices, lead time, issues of safety, and foot visitors. In reality, Seegrid Palion AMRs can simply be skilled by in-house personnel with routes to reliably ship supplies to workstations at exact occasions. As soon as the duty is accomplished, the worker on the workstation merely pushes a button to inform the AMR that it could possibly proceed with its subsequent job. Shifting solely the correct quantity of product on the proper time eliminates bottlenecks within the manufacturing line, successfully transferring materials between workstations or meeting strains as wanted.

2. Transporting Supplies to the Manufacturing Ground

Getting supplies to the manufacturing ground safely and effectively is significant to a versatile and lean course of. It’s not as simple because it sounds, as a result of normally, transferring materials includes human staff. Allocating the correct quantity of workforce could be difficult attributable to points equivalent to productiveness fluctuations, absent staff or a scarcity of staff, together with these on sick or trip time or as a result of scarcity of expert laborers, customized order due dates, or materials delays to the manufacturing line, all of which have an effect on assets. No matter which particular situation chances are you’ll face at a given time, there’s a value related to all of them that immediately and negatively impacts lean manufacturing. 

Integrating a versatile autonomous transportation system to maneuver supplies and merchandise may also help with labor uncertainties, along with decreasing labor prices, issues of safety, and stock on the manufacturing ground. Moreover, automating harmful and monotonous duties permits facility managers to redistribute their human staff to safer and extra mentally stimulating jobs elsewhere within the firm, thus enhancing worker satisfaction and security. Automating duties will increase reliability and accuracy as human error is eradicated from the equation, which ensures items arrive on time, each time.

Versatile automation options additionally allow companies to repeatedly enhance materials stream of their facility as calls for change and develop. For instance, with Seegrid’s holistic options, customers can retrain and redeploy their Seegrid Palion AMRs with out having to attend for a technician, thus decreasing extra prices and downtime ready for an skilled to journey to the location. 

Seegrid’s cloud-based fleet analytics software program, Fleet Geek, is one other device that can lead facility managers on the trail of steady enchancment. Fleet Geek collects Palion AMR fleet efficiency knowledge that reveals traits and might inform data-based productiveness choices and course of enchancment. For instance, Fleet Geek can report on insights, like excessive wait occasions, durations of low utilization, and high-traffic areas, that when improved, may immediately optimize fleet efficiency and enhance capability.

The Future Requires a Versatile, Lean Automation Machine

To maintain up with buyer calls for and competitors, a fabric dealing with facility supervisor should totally decide to lean considering. This contains analyzing the ability and present workflows, maybe with an automation vendor throughout a facility scope, to find out the perfect alternatives to get rid of waste, prices, and bottlenecks to streamline and drive efficiencies. When managers belief AMRs to take their materials dealing with to the following stage, it frees up an enormous quantity of assets and human energy that may be higher utilized elsewhere. 

The provision chain is dealing with extra disruptions, challenges, and alternatives than ever. The flexibleness of Palion AMRs is vital for materials dealing with amenities to be agile and resilient in the present day and in the long run.

Wish to be taught extra? Obtain this infographic to find the right way to map your path to automation success by driving effectivity with AMRs and knowledge analytics. 

Lindsay Derda is a strategic advertising chief with almost a decade of expertise at fast-paced, excessive progress robotics and tech firms. Lindsay at the moment leads product advertising at Seegrid, the market chief in autonomous cell robots (AMRs) and enterprise software program for supplies dealing with–with greater than 5 million autonomous miles pushed. At Seegrid, Lindsay connects automation market data and purchaser insights with product technique to create impactful go-to-market methods for the corporate’s AI-based laptop imaginative and prescient expertise and rising portfolio of cell robots.