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  • Writer's pictureZulkifli Amiruddin

Excellence in Steel Fabrication

Applying operational excellence or lean manufacturing can be difficult in any circumstance, but especially in the highly variable environment that is a custom fabricator. Fab shops have various job routings, frequent setups, variable processing times, and significant swings in demand, just to name a few of the challenges.

If you manage a job shop and want to implement lean methods, you first need to fully understand current conditions. You also must have a deep understanding of lean concepts so you can adapt them to your low-volume, high-product-mix environment.

All this requires time. Flexible, adaptable manufacturing does not happen by chance, but by design. But implementing lean concepts successfully will uncover significant benefits for your long-term business strategy.

Are you willing to put in the necessary effort to take your organization to the next level? Here are nine steps that can help.

Step 1: Identify Product Families

Step 2: Value Stream Map Key Product Families

Step 3: Create Capacity-planning Tools

Step 4: Address Information Quality Issues

Step 5: Implement 5S and Total Productive Maintenance

Step 6: Achieve Quick Changeover

Step 7: Revise Office and Shop Layouts to Support Flow

Step 9: Continuously Improve

“How Can We Make That Work Here?”

Learning what works for your circumstances will come only through experimentation. For every successful lean manufacturing initiative that I have witnessed, business leaders never said, “That won’t work here.” Rather, they asked, “How can we make that work here?”

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