Implementing an effective optimization strategy in production is an important step that reflects the success of management work and the effectiveness of the transition to new operating modes. LEAN Manufacturing Principles, being such optimization steps, are methods for improving various manufacturing aspects, and in the article by Dowd (2007), these approaches are described by using the example of improving internal logistics. Despite some difficulties of implementation in a metal-stamping company, LEAN Principles have proven their usefulness and benefits. Internal improvements, for instance, establishing a steady flow of work between processes, and external ones, for example, an increase in the stock price, are the positive outcomes of developed internal logistics.
Benefits of Implementing LEAN Manufacturing Principles
Optimizing internal logistics through the implementation of LEAN Principles has become a significant solution on the way to improve various aspects of work. According to Dowd (2007), one of the benefits that have been achieved is flexibility. Creating individual work cells along the entire production path instead of a continuous conveyor has allowed improving the quality of raw materials and eliminating potential rejects. Another obvious benefit of implementing LEAN Principles is the optimization of resource consumption. Dowd (2007) states that the improved system has made it possible to not only reduce the share of raw materials but also diminish the workload, thereby reducing the number of the employed labor force.
Finally, the batch size has also undergone changes, thus providing a positive effect on the operating mode. Batches have become smaller, and this has helped regulate production modes more freely if necessary, at the same time avoiding unnecessary costs. As Dowd (2007) summarizes, “right-sizing reduces space requirements, racking requirements and the time spent by workers sorting, locating and finding materials during the production cycle” (p. 26). Therefore, LEAN Principles have contributed to optimizing different production aspects.
Struggles of Implementing LEAN Manufacturing Principles
Although the implementation of LEAN Principles has resulted in improved manufacturing processes, some struggles have emerged. They are generally associated with resistance to different changes since, as Dowd (2007) notes, focusing on individual nuances rather than overall effectiveness requires continuous monitoring. Another challenge is the need to establish the sustainable management of all operating systems because the equipment with distinctive technical characteristics has become more difficult to control due to optimization of the production line.
Material handling, as one of the important LEAN Principles, has undergone changes, but in the context of traditional approaches to work, this activity is complicated by the lack of a sufficient intellectual base to manage. Dowd (2007) remarks that, in the case in question, the metal stamper has faced the issues of avoiding the usual solutions and the need to focus on the narrow tasks of the new profile. Nevertheless, despite these challenges, LEAN Principles are seen as valuable tools for optimizing production and moving towards advanced forms of work.
The case under review suggests that LEAN Manufacturing Principles may be assessed as valuable innovations that have improved manufacturing aspects through advanced internal logistics and, in addition, helped increase the stock price of the company. Individual work cells, improved resource consumption, and adjusting batch sizes may be seen as essential benefits. During the implementation process, some struggles have emerged, for instance, the need to manage the work process thoroughly due to narrower operating tasks, but these challenges do not overlap the advantages of LEAN Principles.
Dowd, J. (2007). Making material flow. Fabricating & Metalworking, 6(8), 24-28.