Operations & Management
Six benefits of automation in lean manufacturing
By Erich Lawson
By Erich Lawson
Nov. 6, 2017 – Manufacturing automation and lean manufacturing both have the same goals — to satisfy your customers at the lowest cost possible. To meet these goals, both approaches are aligned toward completely removing any non-value or low-value activities, cutting down on wastage and still maintaining a good standard of quality.
This allows you to manufacture more products with fewer resources, remain competitive and increase your efficiency with the inclusion of a lean manufacturing approach. This approach can be applied to any manufacturer’s largest controllable expense: the workforce.
By implementing an automated time and attendance software solution, organizations are able to automate pay rules, job rules, and accrual rules along with leave management, union contracts and exception time reporting. By automating this, you will gain complete and accurate visibility into your workforce, allowing you to meet product demands as well as abide by various provincial and federal laws along with your company’s policies.
Here are six benefits of capitalizing on both automation and lean manufacturing:
1. Process of waste elimination becomes faster
Automation is an efficient way of getting rid of waste. If you set up and program your equipment properly, then there is a very tight tolerance which alerts you if the process veers toward upper or lower tolerance limits. This tight tolerance eliminates any reworking of products as well as minimizing the amount of scrap produced. Even the most highly skilled operators are unable to match the efficiency of automation on any routine processes.
Automated machines are designed to perform several operations at once so there is no need to move the materials after each stage of production as the finished products can be delivered directly to storage without any human intervention.
2. The Internet of Things (IoT)
Connecting your equipment to your business systems will greatly reduce the effort which is required to report the production status/reports. The IoT will allow you to focus more on productive work that will satisfy your customer needs by removing the need to report about any of your operations.
3. Control costs
Automation gives you the chance to achieve the same targets with fewer people, along with less of a need for material handling equipment like forklifts. A way to increase automation is through collaborative robotics and other automated machinery designed to operate alongside humans. These flexible working robots require a low investment initially but can give very quick and good returns.
4. Increase worker safety
Implementing automation in your warehouse will help keep employees safe as there will be no need for them to enter automated storage and retrieval systems or even enter any warehouses except for maintenance work. The chances of workplace injuries occurring in automated warehouses are much lower than the 2.9 million workplace injuries reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015, which is equal to roughly three injuries for every 100 employees.
5. Maximize employee productivity to meet production demands
Effectively managing your labour, such as employee leaves and absences, has a significant impact on overall employee productivity. Accurate staffing, along with support of temporary workers, assures that workflow and production levels remain consistent when some employees are absent for extended periods of time.
6. Improve accuracy and streamline manufacturing processes
A complete and accurate view of your workforce and its movements will help productivity and reduce costs. Using a workforce management solution combines time and attendance with scheduling applications which support the optimization of your workforce’s absence, leaves and attendance. It allows manufacturing organizations to ensure compliance with federal and local regulations along with internal policies and union requirements. The managers can compare labour-related expenditures with productivity and budget requirements. This data will ensure an employee’s time is tracked and recorded accurately so that employees are paid properly.
You can implement these lean manufacturing principles by matching them up with your automated production equipment to manufacture quality products in the most efficient way possible.
Erich Lawson is very passionate about the environment and is an advocate of effective recycling. He writes on a wide array of topics to inform readers on how modern recycling equipment can be used by industries to reduce monthly wastage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment saving techniques by visiting his blog Northern California Compactors, Inc blog.