“Lean Manufacturing” or “Lean Business Practices” our a common buzz word in the world of manufacturing these days. Recently, a Houston based valve manufacturer hosted a supplier conference, addressing some lean principles applied to their business and sharing these principles with their suppliers which among many, included spring manufacturers.
Lean methods is an efficient way to run a business, in most cases it boils down to running a business (a spring manufacturing business), with good old-fashioned common sense. A supplier conference is an excellent venue for spring and other manufacturing companies to get together and share ideas. Some of the ideas can be very simple as one vendor demonstrated how they applied using lean principles for buying toilet paper, which previously was bought in 6 month supply quantities. There were also manufacturing methods shared in which tools used on certain equipment were attached to the equipment, minimizing the set up time and time wasted going back and forth from the machine, to the operators tool box. In fact, this particular manufacturer did away with tool boxes entirely.
Every company is unique, so whatever lean methods are applied should be applied with caution to ensure that the change is right for one’s unique company needs.