From a client’s perspective, the main aim of lean manufacturing should be to focus on quality and value. The idea here is for a company to provide customers with quality products in a timely manner.
The result is a retinue of happy customers who will almost certainly keep coming back for more products. Lean manufacturing is therefore good for business, both from the customer’s and the manufacturer’s perspective.
If your company is struggling to stay afloat, this is a yawning sign that you need to implement a better manufacturing process immediately. The signs are always there, but you need to be looking in order to notice them. Let us look at some of these signs.
1. A High Defects Rate
If your production line is churning out too many defective products, this is an indication of wastefulness somewhere along the production line. Someone somewhere along the chain is dropping the ball. Also, if you keep receiving defective products that have been returned by unhappy customers, something is not right. Lean manufacturing will help you identify where the waste is and get rid of it.
2. High Manufacturing Downtime
While people who sleep on the job could be costing your firm a pretty penny, another productivity killer is a machinery that keeps breaking down. When an equipment breaks down, the waste in terms of idle staff and lost productivity can be immense. Always ensure that your machinery is routinely checked and maintained for optimal performance; at least 99% of the time.
3. Slow Stock Turnover
Businesses depend on a high stock turnover for profit maximization. It is a no-brainer that the more products you push, the more profits you will make. However, if it takes forever to restock, it means that your processes, equipment or the human resource is too slow. This, in turn, means lost productivity and reduced profits.
4. Most of Your Space Is Taken up by Storage
If most of the space in your company is storage space, then it means your products are not moving as efficiently as they should. You will need to implement better custom material handling solutions in your manufacturing processes. Also, this could be an indicator of waste in your processes. Having most of your cash flow tied up in stock can seriously hurt your business. The solution is to identify where the leaks are and fix them immediately. It’s very expensive to store slow-moving products, let alone the damage this does to your cash flow.
5. Low Manpower Hourly Output
Low hourly output per staff is one of the biggest resource waste in a company. When the production staff fall back and fail to meet hourly targets, production suffers.
6. Incessant Failure to Meet Delivery Deadlines
Unmet delivery deadlines translate into lost productivity. It means that a customer’s order was not delivered on time. If such failures are too frequent, a company’s profits could be severely compromised.
7. Reluctance to Implement Change
This is perhaps one of most serious productivity killers. When a company is backfiring from all corners, change is inevitable. Procrastinating on implementing change results in deeper loses and wastage. If something is not working, change it and you will soon start seeing progress. You may have to make changes in your processes, tools and in the human resource. Whatever it takes to put your company on a growth trajectory, do it.
8. Low Employee Morale
This is another indication that you need to implement lean manufacturing. If the staff are not adequately motivated, they are likely to perform below capacity. They are also likely to provide a poor service to customers.
Lean manufacturing has the key advantage of eliminating waste. Waste here refers not only to material waste but also to wasteful processes and inefficiencies that unnecessarily increase the cost of doing business. Waste can take the form of unused or unnecessary manpower or system processes that do not contribute to a company’s bottom line.