what is lean manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing creates efficiency by eliminating waste and optimizing processes. Its practices and principles have become a mainstay for manufacturers across the industry. While you may be aware of Lean, you might wonder why it’s important in transactional print and mail. We’ll explain what it is and why it’s critical for these communication types.

What Is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean Manufacturing is a systematic method for removing waste within a system. At the same time, it provides a more rigorous control of productivity and quality. Removing wasted—idle time, unused labor, excess inventory, and inefficient processes—is the objective of Lean. Businesses use it so they can deliver value to their customers sustainably.

Next, let’s dive deeper into the concepts associated with Lean.

Lean Manufacturing Components

To become Lean, manufacturers use specific concepts and tools, including:

  • Continuous improvement: This is the embodiment of Lean, continuously perfecting processes through identifying and eliminating waste.
  • Measuring the effectiveness of processes: Collecting data and developing metrics for Lean activities ensures that companies understand the efficacy of workflows.
  • Error-proofing: This is a proactive approach to preventing mistakes by improving tools and systems to minimize human error.
  • Optimize the whole: This principle ensures value delivery with seamless, productive systems in the facility and more knowledgeable workers.
  • Built-in quality: This method automates and standardizes repeatable, mundane processes prone to error.

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5S is also critical to Lean. Its purpose is to eliminate waste by keeping work areas organized and prepared. The five practices are:

  • Sort: Remove anything necessary from the space.
  • Set-in-Order: Organize what workers need for the task at hand so they are easily accessible.
  • Shine: Keep workstations clean.
  • Standardize: Establish guidelines that all items must repeat.
  • Sustain: Maintain standards of workspaces based on the 4S.

Standard Works

Standard works are the development of precise procedures and tasks in sequence. With a standard in place, deviation and errors occur less frequently. Standard works evolve over time to continue adding value and efficiency.

The Lean framework includes many more practices and principles. They all have the same objective—delivering value to the customer. In the field of print and mail, you can appreciate value, in general, but what does it deliver more specifically?

Transactional Print and Mail Value Delivery from Lean Manufacturing

When it comes to customer communications containing confidential customer data, quality is critical. The adoption of Lean by transactional print and mail companies provides value to you in these ways:

Consistent Quality

Lean constantly improves every process to deliver a reliable product every time. Standard works and 5S support quality as the operations culture moves from inspection to prevention. Audits continually happen to maintain quality.

Near Perfect Accuracy

With transactional mailings, accuracy must be a priority. For compliance adherence and maintaining customer trust, every document in every envelope must be correct. Continuous improvement of processes coupled with advanced technology will boost your accuracy. Our rating is 99.9999%, and maintaining this level of accuracy is possible with Lean.

Cost Reductions

lean manufacturing costs downLean roots out waste and costs. Waste that costs money includes:

  • Errors in printing or mailing, which require the use of more materials to redo
  • Pre-printing templates and storing them
  • Obsolete inventory
  • Slow and manual workflows, which can hamper SLAs
  • Unnecessary steps, which can delay processes and mismanages labor

With Lean, excess costs either disappear or are substantially mitigated. All the efficiencies create savings, so you have a higher value service at a lower cost.

Stronger Compliance Practices

As noted, accuracy is vital to compliance with certain print or mail regulations. Compliance isn’t optional and requires strict adherence and documentation of such. Transactional print and mail providers that use Lean have an advantage because of the focus on consistent practices. Equipment also helps especially high-tech inserters that validate documents reach the proper envelope.

If compliance is top of mind to you, Lean is a method that supports it.

Enjoy the Value of Lean Manufacturing by Partnering with PCI Group

Lean manufacturing is a sustainable approach to improving quality and accuracy. It’s something we believe in and implemented years ago. It keeps our team focused on value delivery for customers. Learn more about how we do this by contacting us today.