Lean manufacturing is an approach that a variety of companies can use to improve processes, reduce waste, and drive efficiency. How businesses apply it depends on their operations and products. In this episode of Ask the Experts, PCI Group Print Manager Eric Weinbrenner discusses Lean manufacturing in the print department.
“The procedures part of Lean manufacturing keeps us on target. We have many employees trained on Lean, but it’s only as good as being consistent. You can organize a workspace, but if no one follows it, Lean is out the door.”
Those procedures are standard works, which document every task of a process. What’s unique with Lean is that employees that do the job write them. “It’s an upside-down pyramid where those doing it every day provide the input. That’s why it works. Managing it from the top-down doesn’t. It came from them. They believe it.”
Because of this standardization of processes, Eric relayed that the company has less than 2% waste. “Canon says that their presses produce 2% waste. Jetstream started off with 3% waste. For us to say we have less than 2% means we’re doing something right and could not have without Lean.”
Having standard works in place doesn’t mean they are satisfied. “We’re listening to employees, and these procedures are living, breathing things. If there’s an error down the line, we do a root cause analysis and investigate. Then we modify it.” Eric added.
Eric explained further that they are always trying to get better every day. “We’re always finding ways to finetune what we do.”