There is a lot riding on the decision to work with a manufacturer or parts supplier, so it’s important to understand the company you are partnering with, right down to everyday processes and cost-control measures. You want to work with a company that has a long-standing track record of customer service and on-time delivery, and knowledgeable, experienced employees. A question you can ask that will help shed light on the way a company operates is whether they are implementing lean manufacturing.
A company with a lean culture includes a sustained effort to eliminate all forms of waste related to:
By continually improving daily procedures and creating a more organized, efficient workplace, the company can better meet your needs and the needs of other customers. Here are three significant benefits to customers who choose a manufacturer that embraces a lean culture.
One aspect of implementing lean manufacturing is a focus on reducing the company’s defect rate and keeping product quality consistently high. Defective products result in unusable materials bound for the landfill, as well as wasted time and labor. Defect rates are measured in Parts per Million (PPM), and the current average for most industries is 25 PPM, or 25 defective parts in each million produced. At Viking Plastics, our lean journey has improved our processes to the point that our current PPM rate is less than 2.
2. Improved Efficiency
Implementing lean manufacturing means continually fine-tuning production processes to cut waste. Adjustments might include automating certain steps to reduce labor requirements, rearranging equipment to create a smoother workflow, or simply using clearer labels and signage that enable workers to locate items more quickly. Such improvements help guarantee that customers will not only receive the best quality products, but will receive them faster. Today’s customers have high expectations for the most efficient on-time delivery. At Viking Plastics, our on-time delivery rate is 99.7%.
3. More Engaged Employees
A company with a lean culture encourages all employees to participate in finding ways to improve processes. When employees know they are working in an environment that is receptive to their ideas and input, their increased job satisfaction leads to higher productivity. And because they are continually educating themselves about procedures, products, and ways to improve, workers are better trained and engaged in creating superior customer service with on-time delivery and top-quality products. They also become more knowledgeable about advanced processes that improve efficiencies, such as 2 shot molding or insert molding.
Viking Plastics has been implementing lean manufacturing since 2011. It is an ongoing commitment by all of our employees to keep making things better. This dedication to simplifying tasks, streamlining workflows, and finding the most effective methods to eliminate waste improves our working environment and ultimately benefits our customers.