Lean Manufacturing

For more than 40 years, Lean has proven to be one of the most effective strategies for improving operational productivity. This is a key foundation stone in the Operational Excellence and Continuous Improvement services of VMEC.

“Lean” is a systematic approach focused on relentlessly identifying and eliminating non-value adding activities (waste in all forms when producing a product or delivering a service) through continuous improvement. It’s a way of thinking and a never ending ‘journey’ that focuses on meeting the requirements of the customer (the right product, on time and defect free), always respecting employees and their role in delivering value to the customer while continuously improving the process.

Companies that successfully eliminate waste experience:

  • Reduced lead times
  • Reduced finished goods inventories
  • Reduced Work-In-Process inventory
  • Reduced costs
  • Improved Quality
  • Reduced cycle times
  • Improved on-time performance

VMEC doesn’t just teach Lean Manufacturing. The VMEC team is committed to transferring our knowledge and Lean experience to your organization through systematic project planning, education and coaching, and detailed implementation support with Lean projects.   Through this commitment, the VMEC team equips and enables companies new to Lean to successfully initiate and sustain their Lean transformations, and those already years into their Lean journeys to further advance their Lean learning and organizations.

VMEC has helped hundreds of Vermont companies achieve measured results like these:

  • > 50% Faster Lead Times
  • > 25% More Productivity/Capacity
  • > 50% Less Inventory
  • > 25% Improved Quality
  • > 50% Better Space Utilization

Our project outcomes and successes are independently verified. Returns on project investments (ROI) are compounded by achieving ongoing benefits year after year.

Typical onsite VMEC Lean projects include one or more of the following elements:

Principles of Lean Manufacturing (Lean 101) workshop.

The basic building block of Lean awareness gets all employees involved and builds common nomenclature and objectives.

Kaizen projects.

Focused continuous improvement activities typically consisting of a cross-functional team working together for a brief period of time (usually no more than 3 to 5 days) to solve a business problem. Examples include:

  • Set-up Reduction. Hands-on application of proven changeover techniques involving video analysis, work team analysis and systematic improvements.
  • 5S Workplace Organization and Visual Systems. Set up the workplace to quickly and accurately share information and eliminate the waste of searching through disorganized and unneeded material.
  • Total Productive Maintenance. Focuses operators and maintenance on keeping equipment on-line and producing quality products.
  • Mistake Proofing or Poka-Yoke. Eliminates product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to operator errors as they occur.
  • Cellular Manufacturing. Production work stations and equipment arranged to support a smooth flow of materials through the production process with minimal transport or delay.
  • Pull Systems/KanBan Flow Design. Scheduling based on customer demand and controlling resource flow based on replacing what has been consumed.

Value Stream Mapping.

Focuses on the creation of value in the organization, and elimination of non-value added activities and waste. Creates a road map for further Lean improvements.

Structured Problem Solving.

Application of scientific method (aka Plan Do Check Act) for root cause problem solving and continuous improvement

Training Within Industry (TWI) programs.

The TWI programs were developed during World War II as a result of the direct needs of American industry and is the “standard work” foundation of the Toyota Production System and Lean Manufacturing. It incorporates three modules of “J” programs of training designed to teach basic skills necessary for continuous improvement: 1) Job Instruction Training (JIT) with the objective to teach someone how to instruct another person and transfer knowledge in a given job; 2) Job Methods Training (JMT) with the objective to enable individuals to improve the job they are doing; and 3) Job Relations Training (JRT) with the objective to develop and maintain strong, positive relationships among all employees.

What are the main BENEFITS of TWI?

TWI Programs can affect the three main activities that consume an organization’s time:

Production:  JIT improves the competence of employees and results in improvements in quality, productivity, safety and cost.

Improving Production: JMT forms the basis of a continual improvement program by getting all personnel involved in thinking about how to improve what they do.

Dealing With People:  JRT helps develop and maintain strong personal relationships, which are the foundation of good leadership.

Plant Layout.

Systematic integration of Lean Manufacturing Principles to layout planning.

Lean Leadership Development.

Leader Standard Work, Implementation and Use of Visual Controls, Standard Accountability Practices, and effective communications, training, and coaching are new leadership skills in a lean environment.

What Is Lean Manufacturing?

VMEC has been on the leading edge of applying Lean in manufacturing and in diverse administrative processes since 1996, with hands-on implementation and training experiences in manufacturing (shop floor and front office) and other sectors including government, healthcare, services, and higher education.

Contact VMEC today to learn more about getting started with Lean Manufacturing or taking your Lean Culture to the next level.