Automotive is a good reference and I always tend to look for references from the Automotive Industry. When my organization worked on the feasibility to manufacture 5 million helmets, we looked into various technologies, processes and raw materials being used in the automotive industry as a direct reference to achieve the desired variants, annual volume, quality, productivity and profitability.
I feel it is essential for the Indian Composites Industry to take inputs from automotive industry time to time and benchmark in the areas of quality, productivity, delivery, etc.
According to me manufacturing is one of the areas where “LEAN” definitely helps.
What is Lean?
Lean Manufacturing or Lean Production or simply “Lean” is a methodology of reducing / eliminating wastages in manufacturing. Lean covers every aspect of wastage in manufacturing from input (raw material, consumables, energy, labour); in process (machine down time, semi-finished / finished product due to non-conforming quality) to finished product (inventory, dead stock, non / slow-moving/rejected goods). Toyota Production System (TPS) is mother of “Lean”. TPS came to limelight and became matter of interest to not only automotive manufacturers but also to other manufacturing industry due to Toyota’s steady growth in deliveries and profits with consistent product quality. Achieving desired quality parameters in automotive industry is a tough task as it involves thousands of parts – both outsourced and manufactured.
Lean Manufacturing is a wide area. Some of the useful Lean Manufacturing Techniques which could be useful to Indian Composites Industry are listed for reference :
- 5S : helps one to organise work area – this could cover raw materials, consumables including managing various moulds developed over period of time
- Visual Factory / Control: includes safety instructions, warning signs, marking various areas e.g. stores, production, hold, inspection, rejected/ rework, finished goods.
- SOP (Standard Operating Procedures): Eliminates dependency on factory in-charge / owner by putting important work instructions in writing.
- JIT (Just in Time): by moulding right component in right quantity at right time helps in optimum utilisation of shop-floor as typically FRP components are custom made / nonstandard.
- Value Stream Mapping: helps in achieving the value through the workflow for which customer is willing to pay for & also achieve best plant layout – the desired flexibility in handling custom made components.
- Poka Yoke: avoiding mistakes at the source as GRP (especially thermoset) is not recyclable.
- Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) or Quick Changeover : optimizes mould changeover time and effectively utilises skilled labour.
- Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) : even in hand-lay- up driven activity optimum utilisation of resources is essential.
Are You Lean? Lean is a continuous process and needs to be top driven. It is effective when broken into small and simple tasks and understood at lowest level.
Be LEAN to be effective, relevant and profitable.
Contributed by Nitin P Soman
(Nitin P Soman is Mumbai based freelance consultant in Composites having 20+ years of industry experience and associated with Mr Shirish Joshi (Pune) & Mr Parag Pande (Aurangabad) for Lean Manufacturing practices)
Project Life Cycle For Lean Management
- Commercial : to improve Efficiency, Productivity, Profitability
- Management : Work clarity, Housekeeping, Accountability, Safety
- Customer Centric : Quality, Rejections, Deliveries
- Production Centric : Space, Inventory of RM & FG, Expansion, Process Consolidations