Understanding Lean Manufacturing And How Salesforce Is Vital In Its Implementation

Understanding Lean Manufacturing And How Salesforce Is Vital In Its Implementation
The fourth Industrial Revolution entails several manufacturing practices that are aimed at maximizing efficiency. One such practice is lean manufacturing.

What’s lean manufacturing and why is it important?

Lean manufacturing is all about doing more with less by adopting ‘lean thinking’. A lot goes on in the manufacturing process that yields a high level of time and resource wastage. In lean manufacturing, the goal is to optimize the processes and eliminate all the kinds of waste that prove costly to the manufacturing process. It involves the seemingly simple but never-ending effort to eliminate or reduce ‘Muda‘- a Japanese phrase meaning any wasteful activity that adds no value to an overall process but still consumes resources. These kinds of activities can run rampant across design, distribution, manufacturing, and customer service processes. The ultimate value that lean manufacturing creates is greatly reducing costs while delivering high-quality products that customers want and are ready to pay for.

The Lean Approach

The Lean approach is founded on the principle that a thorough evaluation of a manufacturing process can discover the elements that are done right and the elements that need to removed, or it can adapt all steps within the manufacturing process that are possibly generating waste. The waste, or ‘Muda’, includes any activity that does not add value to the end product delivered to the users or service. Although the aim with Lean is to cut costs, it does not translate to inferior product quality. It’s all about rethinking to find simpler, better, and more efficient ways of doing the same things to yield even more superior end products. The Lean philosophy promotes continuous improvement through small and sustainable changes instead of making rapid, irregular, or abrupt changes that become disruptive to the workplace. It aims to empower the people who actually work with these processes, materials, and equipments to bring forward the productive changes brought about by adopting the lean philosophy.

The Concept Of Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing was first introduced to us in a 1991 book by James Womack titled “The Machine That Changed the World”. In the book, ‘lean manufacturing’ is defined as a theory focused on simplifying and organizing the work environment. The goal of lean manufacturing is to reduce waste and keep everything and everyone in the workplace responsive to whatever is needed at the moment. The big question revolves around finding a balance between how to reduce waste and how to engage in production activities more efficiently without compromising the quality of products for customers. Another mystery that baffles many adopting lean manufacturing is what the best method to keep up with changing demands is so that they can respond as quickly as possible. Wasteful activity will cost you money. That cost will eventually trickle down to the price your customers pay, forcing them to pay more for your products and services. As a result, they may decide to look for the same products or services elsewhere at a lower price. Survival requires a high level of flexibility, because everyone else in the market is trying to remain competitive as well. Flexibility can be measured by how quickly one is able to respond to changes in demand.

Focus on the customer

Lean manufacturing also proposes a customer-value focus while attempting to achieve efficiencies. This focus requires an investigation of what customers are willing to pay along with what exactly the customers value. Customers only pay for what gives them the value they want. If the product offers value that meets their needs, and they are willing to buy it because of that, then they are ready for the competition. Lean manufacturing Customers must not pay for defects or even for extra costs that come because of inefficiencies like over-sized inventories. Your customers must not be made to pay for production problems or for waste unnecessarily generated in the production process. This waste comes from various categories that you must watch out for. Categories of waste that are to be eliminated with lean manufacturing:
  1. Overproduction leads to unnecessary storage costs.
  2. Waiting looks at the lag-time between production steps/stages. One needs not always wait for one task to be complete before theirs begins.
  3. Inventory looks at whether you have high inventories for back up supply and work in progress, or whether you are buying too many raw materials that attract unnecessary storage costs.
  4. Transportation looks at how efficiently you are transporting materials or using alternatives for best transportation rates.
  5. Over-processing looks for the possibility that you are unnecessarily working on your product through too many steps.
  6. Motion checks for the efficiency in how people and equipment are moved between tasks.
  7. Defects look at the time being spent on finding and fixing production mistakes.
  8. Workforce considers how efficiently you are using your workforce.
The Toyota production system (TPS) documented these primary sources of waste, and together gave them the term previously mentioned- ‘Muda’. Lean manufacturing now adds workforce as a source of waste, and rightly so because it’s possible to inefficiently use your workforce. The concepts of lean advocate for simple, small, and unceasing improvements. Rather than channeling all your energy into full-scale revolutions, you can channel your focus towards changing one small thing at a time. It could be as simple as changing the location of a button or a CTA on a web page. The idea is to take things one step at a time to make sure you don’t disrupt the whole process. In the end, when these small changes come together, they are likely to lead to a higher efficiency level throughout the whole system.

Leverage Salesforce to help you run lean operations and focus on what you do best

Salesforce is truly revolutionary. Getting the right Salesforce manufacturing solution is your ticket to surviving today’s business challenges and staying competitive. That solution will help you streamline your supply chain, which will maximize profits while minimizing oversupply. That is made possible with enhanced visibility into real-time operations with the integration of front and back end systems—such as CRMs, ERPs, social media management, and inventory management—on a single platform.

Ready to transform your manufacturing business?

Plumlogix’ manufacturing clients are able to achieve greater visibility, speed, and coordination across key business processes, including customer feedback collection and forecasted sales comparisons to units sold, etc. At Plumlogix, we work with you at every stage of your Salesforce implementation, whether you need initial set up, a means to accelerate adoption rates, customization of an existing system, or an improved user performance. We are ready to help you achieve a better understanding of your available options and make the right choice to move forward even as you implement lean operations. Start your transformation with us.