It has been more than three decades, and manufacturers have widely adopted Lean Manufacturing for streamlining their processes, removing waste, and increasing productivity. The Lean Manufacturing is the foundation of operational excellence as it helps in standardizing processes, inculcating a culture of continuous improvement, and empowering the manpower on the shop floor.
With time as the complexity of operations increases, many businesses found that Lean Manufacturing all alone is insufficient to meet the market challenges. There was a need to introduce the next-generation approach and bring the digital transformation in the field of manufacturing. And, this is where the newest trend Industry 4.0 helps manufacturers in optimizing their operations.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is the fourth wave of digital transformation in the manufacturing industry. It combines the digital and physical technologies like AI, IoT, and Robotics to gain actionable data insights about the plant. It generates a large volume of useful data and makes it available in real-time. Such data helps in identifying the bottlenecks and removing them before it impacts the bottom line. Industry 4.0 drives flexibility, reliability, and accuracy, and makes your plant more responsive and interconnected.
The manufacturers who seek to optimize their operations must use Industry 4.0 and Lean Manufacturing in combination. The right combination of both can increase the speed, effectiveness, and productivity of a plant. It can reduce the conversion cost by 30-40%, provided the plant has reached the maturity stage in Industry 4.0+ Lean Manufacturing implementation.
Although manufacturers are clear with the implementation of Industry 4.0 and Lean Manufacturing, they are uncertain about how the combination of the two can bring significant benefits for the business.
Our experts explain that Industry 4.0 + Lean Manufacturing = optimum combination of digital technologies + lean tools (required to address the pain point).
For example, if
Pain point= decreased machine performance, then
Digital Technology= a combination of IoT and Robotics, and
Lean tools= OEE improvement processes, which includes preventive and predictive machine maintenance scheduling. The six big losses related to machine performance are eliminated, and the Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) significantly increases.
Note: that depending on the pain point, the combination of digital technology and lean tools are thoughtfully selected.
Therefore, by implementing Industry 4.0 + Lean Manufacturing to address the pain points, a manufacturer can achieve a variety of benefits.
Effective and Efficient Changeovers
By implementing Lean Manufacturing tool like the Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED), it becomes easy for a manufacturer to remove the non-value adding (NVA) parameters from the process of the changeover. As a result, the speed of the process increases. Moreover, Industry 4.0 technologies underpin this operation. The sensors and ERP software make the machines smarter to quickly identify the NVAs and load the appropriate material, with no operator intervention. As the changeover is automated, the machine attendants can now work on value-adding activities.
Zero Breakdowns and Failures
Machine downtime can significantly affect the plant’s performance and the delivery of the end product. Lean manufacturing can help in overcoming equipment breakdown by introducing methodologies such as predictive maintenance and conditional monitoring of the machines. A manufacturer can quickly improve Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) and significantly reduce the breakdowns levels.
In addition, Industry 4.0 offers advanced algorithms and Machine Learning to analyze the huge amount of data collected by sensors. The data collected makes it easy to identify and predict breakdowns and failure before they occur.
For example, an operator can get to know when a machine part is about to get damaged and can perform preventive maintenance timely to prevent the breakdown. Doing this minimizes the replacement cost and interruptions in the production line.
Improved Product Quality
Delivering a high-quality product is one of the major priorities of manufacturers. It is because high-quality production is the first gateway to earn more customers, revenue, and gain recognition in the market. Therefore, it is vital for every production unit to meet the quality specifications of the customers. Doing this minimizes the risks of rejection and withdrawals.
Lean manufacturing tools helps in reducing the likelihood of errors and improves the fault detection process. And, Industry 4.0 takes it further by installing sensors and camera-based inspection process to examine the quality of the products. They collect the data and feed in the software, which also creates analytics in real-time. The operators can analyze the data and ensure that only the high-standard products get out for packaging and then shipping.
For continuous growth in the volatile market, it is essential for your plant to run at full capacity, with zero to minimum wastage. It is also important to produce and deliver the goods ‘on time and in full’ quality to the customers. And, the combination of Industry 4.0 and Lean Manufacturing assures all and more. The two help in increasing the plant productivity and customer experience to a significant level.