At the heart of lean manufacturing is the elimination of waste. But there’s another principle at work in lean as well: adding value. When you design a product, you also want to think of the value customers are willing to pay for in addition to ways to reduce waste.
Think of lean manufacturing as a structure, specifically a house. For this house to be viable, you need to build it on a solid foundation. Lean is about stability and standards but continuous improvement is also part of that foundation. Next come the pillars of quality and just in time scheduling with your lean goals sitting on top of those pillars. At the very top, you have your roof consisting of quality, cost, and delivery. Now you have a very solid “house of lean” to ensure that you produce premium quality products you can consistently deliver on time at a reasonable cost.
What’s even more exciting is you can run this house with a cloud ERP to lower IT costs and focus on what you do best: make things. One manufacturer has done just that and is not only going lean but is also getting real-time information on how to continually improve business.
Accuride Corporation, a leading manufacturer and supplier of wheels and wheel-end components to the North American commercial vehicle industry, was focused on becoming a lean organization. The company underwent a complete transformation of its core business investing $150 million into its steel wheel capacity, expanding its aluminum wheel capacity, restoring its gunite wheel-end business, and implementing common lean operating systems.
A critical component in this strategy was a manufacturing cloud ERP. The cloud helped Accuride build one version of truth across the entire company that had grown through several acquisitions—each bringing a new system with siloed data. The company found that it had been spending more time gathering and interrogating data than they had been making decisions with it.
Once Accuride had its system and data consolidated, the company was able to get a real-time view into what was happening on the plant floor, and with overall business, at any given moment. This agility became the basis for implementing lean manufacturing standards within cloud ERP system rather than using a traditional logistics model. By doing this, Accuride’s Kentucky plant has earned an award from the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) for being a lean organization, one of only four plants in North America to be honored—and the first commercial truck component manufacturer to win this award.
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