As the influence of offshore manufacturing and national competition increases, manufacturers are having to reduce pricing, stock levels and improve service as well as shortening lead-times in an effort to meet the ever increasing customer expectations.
Many Australian companies operate using Lean Manufacturing techniques. Lean is successful because it focuses on the customer. When the system is effectively followed, it helps to continuously improve company processes and exceed customer expectations.
Implementing Lean principals in metal manufacturing companies provides customers with a high quality service. It can improve quote responsiveness and customer engagement, allowing the company to focus on customer service as well as eliminating waste and variation throughout the entire organization.
Metal Manufacturers strive to be relentless in the elimination of all variability and waste. Lean identifies the following forms of waste: defects or reworks, over production, unnecessary queue time, non-utilized talent or energy, transportation times, inventory and excess processing.
It is important to maintain the customer focus. In eagerness for improving operational efficiency, it is important not to overlook the initial goal of customer value.
The focus remains on the needs of the customer throughout the entire Lean process.
Lean, in a contract manufacturing company, benefits the customers in the following way:
- Quality. The customer is confident that the production of metal brackets and components will be of high quality. All parts undergo a full quality check by correctly trained staff members.
- Efficient Production. The lean process means that the production time for metal products is performed in a time efficient and cost effective manner. No unnecessary queue time between processes.
- Talent. The training and usage of staff is according to their individual skill sets. This ensures the products are accurate and manufactured using the most effective production method.
- Transport. Usually a customer operating under lean principals strives to perform the majority of production stages in-house, under the one roof. In the event of transport to subcontractors, IE: galvanizing or zinc plating; The contract manufacturer maintains a healthy relationship with the freight company and the subcontractor. This ensures the outside process is performed quickly and prioritized accordingly.
- Inventory. Most metal manufacturing companies running lean, who specialize in complete supply chain solutions are in a position to hold necessary stock for customers. The customer can also forward order, for delivery in the months following and the manufacturer has the ability and systems to schedule ahead and deliver the metal components when required. Therefore reducing stock for the customer.
In conclusion, the performance of effective Lean Manufacturing and the training and mentoring of the team directly benefits the customer. The customer results in the quality and guaranteed production time for their components as well as the overall service they receive.
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