Welcome to the Lean Manufacturing forum at Print Planet!
The goal of this forum is to provide a venue for discussing all things related to lean manufacturing. We also invite discussions about other business improvement methods, such as Six Sigma and quality management.
Lean manufacturing was one of the most significant business developments of the twentieth century. Although other factors were involved, it was primarily the implementation and use of lean techniques that enabled Japanese manufacturing firms – particularly Japanese automotive companies – to become world market leaders in the years following World War II. Because of its proven track record of success, lean manufacturing is now used by all kinds of companies. A recent survey compiled by IndustryWeek and the Manufacturing Performance Institute reported that nearly 70 percent of manufacturing companies have adopted lean manufacturing as a business improvement methodology.
Closer to home, lean manufacturing is becoming increasingly important to printing/graphic communications companies. Earlier this year, PIA/GATF and Point Balance conducted a survey of printing company executives about lean manufacturing. More than three-fourths of our survey respondents told us they had heard or read about lean manufacturing, and almost 40 percent said they are using lean tools in their companies.
The growing interest in lean manufacturing among printing company managers is a direct result of the tough competitive environment that the printing industry has been confronting for the past several years. In these trying market conditions, companies must be highly productive in order to survive. Lean manufacturing is lean because it enables a business to more with less. A lean enterprise uses less human effort, less equipment, less facilities space, less time, and less capital to operate than a “non-lean” company of comparable size in the same industry. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that printing company managers are becoming more and more interested in lean.
This is the place to learn how lean manufacturing can improve your business. Over the next several days, I’ll be posting some lean discussion points and questions to get the conversations started. But you will ultimately determine what we talk about here and how informative and useful this forum will be. So please join the fray and share your questions and experiences regarding this important topic.