Building a lean manufacturing process requires the use of a wide variety of techniques and tools covering everything from quality control to the physical layout of a manufacturing facility. In order to become proficient at implementing these tools, most organisations opt for external lean manufacturing training.

The following tools and techniques form the focus of sound lean manufacturing training – whether delivered in a classroom style setting or provided as online lean manufacturing training.

5S – 5S is a lean manufacturing tool often used at the start of a lean manufacturing improvement process to optimise the workplace and ensure a safe working environment. 5S provides a solid foundation onto which a lean manufacturing process can be built.

Buffer and Safety Stock – Buffer stock is used to smooth out variations in the internal processes of the organisation ensuring that these variations do not affect the customer. Safety stock is used to hedge against disruptions in the manufacturing process – due to machine failure or fire for example.

Cellular Layout – A tool used to maximise the efficiency, flexibility of the physical layout of each operative’s work station and minimize move distance.

Continuous Flow – Allows the movement of products through the value system without waste or inventory.

Cycle Time – A measurement of the time taken to complete a process and used to determine the number of operatives required.

Heijunka – Also referred to as load levelling, a tool used to allow an organisation to meet variations in the level of customer demand.

Just In Time (JIT) – An inventory strategy that reduces the need for in-process inventory.

Kaizen – A process of continuous improvement throughout business processes.

Kanban – A process of continuous supply of parts and supplies so that operatives have what they need when they need it.

Metrics – A way of measuring, evaluating, and responding to manufacturing performance without sacrificing quality or increasing inventory levels in an effort to achieve efficiencies in production.

Line Balancing/Level Load – The distribution of the work required to assemble a product across a set of work stations.

Mistake Proofing – Also referred to as Poka Yoke, involves simple methods for eliminating errors in business processes.

Quick Changeover – The ability to change tooling rapidly so that multiple products can be developed on a single machine.

Standard Work – A definition of the most efficient methods for producing a product using the available equipment, materials and people.

Takt Time – A measurement of the maximum time required to produce one unit of a product and often used as a target for the pace of production in lean manufacturing.

Total Productive Maintenance – A system of ensuring ‘zero-downtime’ of equipment, emphasising production operator involvement in equipment maintenance.

Value Stream Mapping – A lean technique used to track the flow of materials and/or information required to deliver a product to the end customer.

Waste – Defined as anything that does not add value to the customer.

Needless to say, there are a wide variety of six sigma and lean tools and techniques available. This broad selection of improvement methods ensures that, whatever your business situation, there are options available to suit your needs and help you achieve your business improvement goals.

You’ll find additional information about the six sigma and lean tools listed here, and others available, throughout the site or by contacting us directly.

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