Lean Management in Manufacturing Automation

Peter Drucker, the father of management science, once said: “If you can’t measure something, you can’t correct it either.” Over the years, this sentence still remains true, because analysing the measured effects and implementing the right changes or improvements is always the key to business growth. The need for continuous development and improvement can be particularly evident at the production stage. Especially when considering the rapidly developing technologies and innovations available on the market.

Automation of plant production is worth starting from a theoretically simple but strategically advanced change in the management itself. It is implementing lean management, which is based, among other elements, on fluid, optimised production and a pull system.

The beginnings of lean management are worth looking for in Japanese organisational solutions, especially in Toyota’s Production System. Lean concept is also used in lean manufacturing processes, which in turn makes it easy to control the use of company resources and prevent waste on the production line. Lean method is therefore ideal for use in businesses and plants that not only maximize potential but also focus on environmental aspects in their priorities.

Muda, or unnecessary

In the lean concept, the Japanese word muda means nothing other than unnecessary. And everything that is unnecessary can be directly linked to the loss or waste that we want to avoid in automated production. There are traditionally seven types of muda and in Comarch we have our own ways of tackling them.

  • Over production. You will get control over it thanks to Comarch Industry 4.0 application, which allows you to directly manage and track your orders. The operator always has the most relevant information at hand, such as how many pieces he should produce and how many pieces he has produced so far.
  • Excess inventory leads to storage clutter and does not allow the material to be used in full efficiency. To optimise your warehouse workflow, select Comarch Asset Tracking. You will always know where to look for a particular product and how much of it is still available.
  • Quality errors and defects are checked by the Comarch Industry 4.0. Our quality control module allows you to better manage the entire process by checking the quality after each operation, not just at the end of production. As a result, errors and defects are detected as early as possible.
  • Instant flow of information reduces waiting time. Are you out of material on the production line? Simply press the dedicated button on the screen or dedicated Comarch Smart Button. It will alert the relevant employee to supply the material. This system also allows you to track the progress of your work, so that you can start preparing the materials you need at the end of the process.
  • Excessive processing. Real-time monitoring of machines and people helps you find and eliminate unnecessary processes. You will be assisted by Comarch Smart Metering solution that will monitor for you for instance the amount of energy consumed and inform you if you waste it.
  • Unnecessary transport can be easily overcome by using Comarch Asset Tracking mentioned above. This solution tracks the location of the product and the path it is moving along, making it much easier to optimise transport.
  • With the aid of Comarch technology, you can also verify how long it takes an employee to perform a task in reality compared to the standard assigned time, in order to reduce unnecessary movement.

Mura, or irregular

Losses can also be generated by irregularities (Japanese: mura) in the processes performed, from changes in costs to product quality. With the Comarch Industry 4.0 solution, you can organize your work by keeping all the information you need about the production and quality of your products in a single database. In addition, the instructions that are displayed to operators will help them maintain their working standards.

Muri, or too difficult

Overworking (Japanese: muri) caused by too difficult working conditions can affect people, machines and systems alike. Overworking can be caused by too many duties or overuse of machines referred to the conditions of use, leading to more frequent failures and accidents. Current monitoring of time and workload for people and machines helps prevent over-fatigue, thus optimising the entire production.

Lean manufacturing automation allows you to really optimise all your plant processes and minimise waste and often eliminate waste altogether. And if you are ready to take the first steps toward digitisation, we encourage you to explore IoT Comarch ecosystem solutions.

Katarzyna Strzebońska, Comarch IoT

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