When you start looking at ways to make your shop more efficient, lean manufacturing is one of the first strategies that come up. Lean manufacturing is a strategy to eliminate waste from your shop. Waste can come in the form of wasted time or resources. Job shops typically find it difficult to use lean manufacturing since each job could be completely different from the last. However, there are still ways a job shop can apply lean manufacturing, and E2 can make implementing this process much easier. Lean manufacturing’s five principles are value, value stream, flow, pull, and perfection. Here’s how E2 can help with each one.
Value is the customer’s need for a specific product. This can involve things like having an accurate due date and a competitive price point. It’s much easier to keep all of this information at your fingertips when you use E2 instead of spreadsheets or various pieces of paper. When a customer asks for an estimate or quote, you want to be able to tell them how much their job will cost and to guarantee they’ll get it by their deadline. Using E2 will make sure you can do all of this quickly and accurately, and that you’ll eliminate any waste from your production process.
The next step in lean manufacturing is value stream, which involves mapping all the steps and processes needed to finish a job. E2 creates a job traveler for every job. With this information on your computer, it’s much easier to compare job travelers and see your company’s most common processes. As opposed to trying to remember the jobs you’ve run this month. Looking at the steps for these jobs allows you to see if any steps can be combined or cut.
The third step in lean manufacturing is flow. Flow is when a job moves smoothly from one step to the next during production. Using E2’s job travelers can help your shop see if any machines could be moved for greater efficiency. In addition, E2 has job time tracking software that lets you see how long each step takes to complete versus the estimated time. If a job is taking too long, you can determine if the estimate is wrong or if whoever was working on that job needs to be retrained. Whatever solution you use, this is another process you can eliminate waste from.
Pull is how long it takes for the customer to “pull” their job from you. As you’ve been eliminating waste in various parts of your shop, jobs should be moving through more quickly than before. As you see these times shortening, you can adjust your quotes and estimates in E2 accordingly so you’re always giving your customers an accurate due date. If your shop likes to track inventory, E2 also brings more efficiency to that process, making sure you always have what you need on-hand, which eliminates the need to wait for stock from your suppliers. All of these things mean your customers get their jobs more quickly.
Since no process is ever fully done, the last step in lean manufacturing is making it part of your shop’s culture. In order to continue to eliminate waste, you need to know how your shop is doing. E2 makes it easy to track anything from job time to the number of quotes accepted and it has reports for every situation. You can save time on gathering data, and instead, spend your time making sure your shop meets its lean manufacturing goals.
Lean manufacturing has been a popular process in manufacturing for years. Although parts of it are easier for shops with the same processes for every job, job shops can take advantage of it as well. E2 can help every step of the way. Where can your shop eliminate waste?
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