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Lean manufacturing in electronics – principles and benefits

Buckminster Fuller, the great engineer and inventor once said, “waste is a resource out of place”, and that philosophy is exactly why embracing lean manufacturing in electronics - a field with small margins and vast potential for waste - is so good for your company.

Let’s take a look at the key principles and benefits of this logic so that if you’re not already, you can begin implementing this strategy into your manufacturing processes.

The principles of lean manufacturing

The principles of lean manufacturing were formulated in Japan when founding Toyota member, Eiji Toyoda, visited Ford’s Michigan factory and was inspired to make his own vehicle manufacturing as efficient as possible.

He formulated two essential prinicples

  • Jidoka– This roughly translates to ‘automation with a human touch’, and essentially means that production ceases immediately if a problem arises, in order to ensure that no faulty products are produced.
  • Just-in-Time– The concept of flowing efficiency in the production process, where every automated stage performs only what is necessary for the next stage.

With these guidelines in place, Toyota became the biggest car manufacturer in the world and garnered a reputation for reliability and excellence – which is why these principles were quickly picked up by other industries, like electronics manufacturing.

Lean manufacturing in the electronics industry

Over the years these ideas have been expanded on and honed by other organisations, and now lean manufacturing in electronics is often guided by the 5S methodology devised by the Kaizen Institute in Japan and can be summed up thus:

  1. Straighten– organise the workspace so that everything is readily to hand and everything has a clearly defined place.
  2. Shine– keep all tools and workstation areas spotlessly clean to prevent contamination.
  3. Standardise– create schedules and standardised tasks to ensure the first three principles are adhered to and all workflow processes are streamlined.
  4. Sustain– ensure all of the rules are maintained company-wide as a long-term strategy.

The benefits of lean manufacturing

At Daletech, we’ve embraced lean manufacturing because the benefits are so clear, and with our entire team onboard we’ve been able to continuously improve efficiency in every area – from staff training to our choice of capital equipment and how we use it.

Lean fundamentally alters a company’s worldview and, as a result, by adopting this approach, we’re always employing the most innovative and efficient methods of production and delivery of end product – a result that can only be of benefit to everyone from the manufacturer to the client.

We hope that our insight into using lean manufacturing in electronics encourages you to choose this approach and improve every area of your business too.

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