Why lean manufacturing matters despite 2020 challenges

Posted 19/6/2020 by Danielle Robyn

2020 has been a rollercoaster of a journey for the manufacturing industry. Whilst some firms have been left wondering when demand for their products and components will pick up again, in other sectors, demand for production has seen a massive surge.

Now that restrictions are lifting in the UK, manufacturers are bracing themselves for the challenges ahead. Demand forecasts will need regular revision and contingency plans will be required for sudden surges or reductions in orders.

“Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy that provides tools and processes designed to eliminate waste from the manufacturing process, resulting in greater efficiency, efficacy and profitability for the organisation.” – eflex Systems

Those manufacturers with low productivity and high inefficiencies are likely to suffer the greatest during the transition out of lockdown. Nonetheless, this is a prime opportunity for manufacturers to re-evaluate and make improvements to their processes and drive productivity and performance for their long-term survival.

What comes next for manufacturing?

Moving forward out of lockdown, lean manufacturing will become more important than ever thanks to the advances in digital technology and changes in the economy.

The combination of lean manufacturing and digital is powerful for efficiency, productivity and performance. Data-driven systems are unlocking actionable insights to save company’s time, reduce their errors and highlight opportunities beyond what is identifiable by humans.

Although lean manufacturing technology is becoming more widely available and advantageous, it still isn’t widely adopted. Even in industries such as the pharmaceuticals, many companies are still using spreadsheets and archaic paper-based systems despite their downfalls.

A big issue with these systems is that company’s end up with rigid production schedules which cannot easily adapt to internal and external changes so resources are either stretched or under-utilised.

What can we be doing now?

At present, dynamic planning is key for companies to iron out their inefficiencies. Accessing real-time information, production teams will be able to work collaboratively and spot where machine downtime or potential bottlenecks could be reduced. As the plan is accessible and visible to all staff, there’s no need for handovers at the start of each shit which will save hours each week.

Improvements and adoption to lean manufacturing will allow your company to make continuous improvement. Understandably, Covid-19 has caused many businesses to pause and think about what’s next. However, the quicker your organisation acts, the more likely you are to gain the first-mover advantage.

If you’re looking to improve efficiency with lean manufacturing, and require skilled engineers to support your growth and productivity, get in touch with the Synergi Recruitment team today.

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