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Don’t Forget About Manufacturing Lead Time Reduction

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

The Lean Journey: Don’t Forget About Manufacturing Lead Time Reduction

By: Ben Roush It is often the case, organizations embark on the lean journey without forcing the lean principles into

place. As we all know, this happens when we don’t push the direct labor balancing activity. If we do not take out the excess labor, the cell will almost always overproduce based on human nature. The standard work in process begins stacking up, and so does the scrap and rework. Keeping excess labor and inventory in the system just drives waste and hides our needed reality. Shame on us for not being good lean practitioners.

This is generally the case when it comes to taking excessive inventories out of your system. Inventory levels have become one of our most rationalized and accepted wastes that we keep in place day after day, and month after month. The inability to respond effectively with our materials department can be truly devastating to our operations group and our bottom line. One of the reasons for this is our own organization’s competencies in understanding and managing their MRP systems. In today’s world, it seems we have left the materials group behind as we begin the lean journey. Sometimes we have inadvertently replaced our materials group needs with a new IT software solution without completely understanding the real customer demand rates, and how to schedule our own building. IT solutions can be beneficial, but nothing can substitute for fundamental skills sets and MRP management skills.

At Dynamic Improvement Group, we believe in “engineered” plant inventory processes. This approach can comprehensively be applied to all MRP systems, including SAP, QAD, and CMS applications.

Ask yourself these questions. Are your inputs and set up fields correct? How do you receive your customer demand rates? How does that flow through your systems? Does your group actually actively schedule your building? Or do they maintain a passive approach? How does this active scheduling process flow through to your extended enterprise? Sometimes our materials group just don't know any better simply because they have not been trained in this approach.

What kind of automated reports does your organization run for the materials group so that they can spend their time managing and planning effectively? If your team spends their time on the shipping dock chasing bad parts or past due scenarios, do your really expect them to get better without changing the rules of the game?

We at Dynamic Improvement Group are here to help you with “engineered inventory.”

Some more thoughts on lean inventory: inventory

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