Lean manufacturing in the spotlight - theory put into practice

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'Eliminate waste and maximise efficiency' this was the overriding message given to a group of delegates at the latest Lean Factory Group workshop, hosted in Andover, Hampshire.
The Lean Factory Group*, a consortium of seven suppliers to the manufacturing sector, provides manufacturers with hands-on advice and guidance on a range of innovative, yet practical lean manufacturing solutions to boost productivity.

A demonstration manufacturing cell, set-up within SSI Schaefer's headquarters, gave delegates the unique opportunity to see how an efficient working production line should look and run. The cell, created using the very latest developments in lean manufacturing technology, provides a highly effective, practical and visual way of educating manufacturers to the benefits of lean implementation.
Mark Dash, Solutions Manager, Bosch Rexroth, said: "Lean manufacturing is ultimately about adding value to the end customer and removing waste from a production line. However, removing waste from a production line is easier said than done and to really understand what waste is, manufacturers need to understand what adds value what the end customer will pay for."
He continued: "The workshops aim to dispel the myths surrounding lean manufacturing and the complications often associated with 'change' when introducing lean methods to an existing set-up."
Top and tailed with a number of presentations on the theory and benefits of lean manufacturing, including value stream mapping, KANBAN boards and workplace design, it was the practical session within the production cell that gave visitors the chance to compare their own production plant and really examine the operation behind a lean manufacturing cell.
The cell clearly highlighted the actions that add value within a production line and gave food for thought  to current actions across a host of production lines throughout the country that are clearly wasted and adding no value to the customer actions including wasted travel across the shopfloor, long periods of waiting around by production staff, over-production and over-processing .
Aaron Thornton, Business Development Manager, SSI Schaefer, said: "Every warehouse manager, production line manager is looking for ways to maximise efficiency and improve productivity levels whilst driving costs down. However, all too often there is a lack of time or resources to justify the changes needed to develop a streamlined, picture-perfect solution to achieving such gains.
"The integrated approach of the Lean Manufacturing Group brings together a wealth of disciplines, experience and expertise needed to devise and implement tailored, practical and efficient lean manufacturing solutions to help manufacturers improve their efficiency, competitive position and profitability primarily it's about working with people, upskilling workforces and providing them with the knowledge to move forward with their own lean journey ."
*The Lean Factory Group UK is made up of seven of the most innovative suppliers to the manufacturing sector - iCart, Bosch Power Tools, Bosch Rexroth, K.Hartwell, Sick UK, SSI Schaefer and Spitfire Consultancy.

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