Implementing just-in-time (JIT) principles "flow-takt-pull-leveling"
at a high-mix batch operation raised labor productivity 288%, freed up 33% process inventory, and permanently lowered cost-per-unit by 28%. Those breakthroughs were achieved without any capital investments, solely by applying Lean techniques: adjusting shop floor layout to match actual workflow (3P, see below), structuring the workplace from floor to ceiling (5S from 0.6 to 4.3 overall), implementing supermarkets (type-A pull system), and standardizing process for planning and direct labor activities using one-point lessons (OPL). It allowed balancing resources to actual demand, eliminating idle times and overtime, almost tripling labor productivity.
3P Production Preparation Process
The 3P essentially means design for manufacturability (DFM). It covers product-design and process-design and focuses on reducing the three losses 3M:
- Muda: waste and inefficiencies
- Muri: misfit and overburden
- Mura: variability and unevenness
Eliminating the 3M through systematic application of 3P makes a product manufacturable and service deliverable. See also the next paragraph about the ideal Lean process.
The Ideal Lean Process
Every step of a lean process must meet the following five criteria to be considered “Lean”:
- Valuable: step is essential; would create trouble if omitted.
- Capable: produces a good result every time.
- Available: being able to operate whenever needed.
- Adequate: having the capacity to maintain continuous flow, no stoppages.
- Flexible: permitting a range or products or services without batching and delays.