What is Lean Manufacturing?

Medical devices line a table inside of MediSurge's Class 7 Cleanroom while text over them reads, "Since its introduction, lean principles have had a huge impact on manufacturing throughout the world, as well as other industries like healthcare and software."

 

MediSurge is in the business of saving customers both time and money. We do this by utilizing lean medical device manufacturing processes that drive cost-savings improvements and reduce time to market. And because we are a true partner to our customers, we offer a generous 50% share with all cost-saving initiatives. Through lean manufacturing, we are also able to ensure customers see value throughout every step of the process.

What is lean manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing, or lean production, is a systematic method that focuses on reducing or eliminating waste and optimizing or maximizing productivity. This type of approach, which was originally created by Toyota, was first introduced in the United States in the 1990s through James Womack’s book, The Machine That Changed the World.

In a nut shell, this concept was defined as a way to simplify and organize work environments. Since its introduction, lean principles have had a huge impact on manufacturing throughout the world, as well as other industries like healthcare and software.

Principles of Lean Manufacturing

James Womack, who founded the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) and is considered to be a top expert on the matter, identified five key lean principles that all engineers should understand and practice:

  1. Value: This is created by the producer, but ultimately defined by the customer. It is important that companies understand the value that customers place on their products. This will help determine how to price goods.
  2. Value Stream: By mapping out a product’s entire lifecycle from raw material to disposal, you can more easily identify waste and ways to improve the process. Essentially, anything that does not add value should be eliminated.
  3. Flow: By eliminating any barriers and identifying ways to improve lead time, processes will be smoother and orders will be fulfilled in a more efficient manner.
  4. Pull: It’s important to only start on new products or projects when there is a demand for it. Lean manufacturing focuses on pull systems as opposed to push systems. Without having to create products way ahead of time or keep extra materials on hand that need to be managed, you can save time and money.
  5. Perfection: Once you have made it through the first four steps, you still need to continue thinking about ways to improve processes and how you can incorporate lean principles into every aspect of your organization.

Wastes in Lean Production

By always focusing on the customer and what brings them value, you can more easily identify waste. Ask yourself questions like, “what do our customers value?” or “what is the customer willing to pay for?” Remember, customers shouldn’t have to pay for your production issues or lack of efficiencies, a.k.a. “waste.” With that in mind, be sure to monitor the following categories of waste:

  • Overproduction: Are you producing an unnecessary amount and needing to pay for more storage?
  • Waiting: Is there significant lag time between two steps of the production process?
  • Inventory: Do you have too much material on hand before it is being used?
  • Transportation: Are you moving materials as efficiently as possible?
  • Over-processing: Are you working on too many things at once?
  • Motion: Can your team transition between tasks easily?
  • Defects: How much time is spent fixing problems?
  • Workforce: Is your team being used in an efficient manner?

Our team is able to create the devices needed, when they’re need, at a cost that makes sense by keeping the above in mind and always ensuring continued optimization of processes. We are dedicated to creating quality products as efficiently as possible, and our customers’ best interests are always top of mind.

For more information about our processes or how we can help you save time and money, please contact our team today. We can’t wait to work with you!

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