Lean production is an approach of combining inputs in such a manner that seeks to do away with losses and wastages in the process of production and to optimize the output using minimal inputs. It has been hailed as a better and efficient replacement for the traditional production methods which were much wasteful and inefficient.
The main problems noted were employee dissatisfaction, failure of equipment and out datedness of the equipments used in the production processes. Employee dissatisfaction came by as a result of the repetitive nature of their jobs for example operating the same machine everyday. Any equipment failure would cause delays in the remaining process or processes.
Then there was a tendency of machines becoming obsolete, even if they could be replaced cheaply. With these problems recurring, business firms in production businesses sought other methods which could be applied to attain higher flexibility and efficiency at once. Also these new methods sought to reduce wastage or to be ‘lean’ (Black, 2008).
Lean production methods were first used in Japan from 1950 to 1960 and have come to be adopted by firms in the United Kingdom. This approach fully eliminate wastages associated with materials, time and input of workers, the space on the factory space and those from production of poor quality products. These reductions would bring down the costs incurred by firms in production and increase efficiency. Furthermore, it would also bring about the firm’s competitiveness.
Many techniques of management have so far been introduced to attain lean production. Among them are cell productions, continuous improvement also known in Japanese as Kaizen and Just in time manufacturing. Under the cell production methods, the employees are arranged into teams with multiple skills. Every team is involved in a part of the whole manufacturing process which completes a process and passes the item to the next cell. This kind of production increases team work and employee satisfaction hence efficacy is realized.
Under Kaizen the employees have two assignments. First is to complete the given work and secondly to suggest and implement methods of bettering the work. Hence the term ‘continuous improvement’ meaning that the final development is a result of the little contributions made at every stage.
Lastly Just in time implies that as the inputs are received they are utilized immediately so as to avoid the time consuming storage and removal and the storage costs being incurred. This method uses computerized systems of procurement to ensure that the ordered and delivered stocks are exact to avoid any delays. It also ensures that there are no resources like money being held as stock. Portakabin is a construction company based in Huntington in the United Kingdom. It specializes in all steel building for accommodation. Once you complete negotiations with them they will supply you with a solution completely fitted with all water works, electricity applications and the in house paintings (Dennis & Shook, 2007).
Portakabin uses lean production methods in its construction processes. These are Flow production, Cellular production and Batch production. It has achieved among other things minimization of costs and time. Through its tight manufacturing processes, they have achieved quality assurance certification: ISO 9002. They considerably reduced the time taken for the projects to be completed. They have also achieved good customer ratings which currently stand at 90 percent satisfaction and have built a brand name spanning 45 years.
The advantages of flow production method
Many finished products can be fully manufactured within a relatively short time. This is because it is capital intensive in that machines are mostly used than human beings. It is highly mechanized. Take for example the Toyota assembly plant in Japan, where car parts are individually produced and assembled using computerized systems. The process can be continued forever by workers being swapped in shifts. Firms also incur lower costs to produce any given product.
The disadvantages of flow production Method
There is less flexibility due to high mechanization in the production process. All the products are the same and cannot be customized to meet individual preferences.
Advantages of cell production system
It can be readily adapted the changing requirements, pending work inventories is kept low, there is an increased output per worker and motivation. The time of production is reduced so as the quality of products, the money saved can be use to procure more equipment and that there is an immediate feedback on the change effected.
Disadvantages of cell production system
It heavily relies on the initiative and input of the worker who sometimes may be unreliable or even absent due to personal or health reasons.
Advantages of batch production system
It can be used to produce differentiated products with minimal costs by using the machines in an effective way. Inputs may be purchased on wholesale and that workers are deployed in the areas of their expertise. This further has positive implications on the quality of outputs and that workers are able to greatly improve on their skills.
Disadvantages of batch production system
Producing in batches usually leads to a backlog of work in progress besides it needing extremely intricate decision and planning when and how to produce a single batch. This implies that a lot of space is needed which might lead to stock expiring or getting destroyed.
The use of method study in the company will be able to identify the best way of handling and scrutinizing the means of production in a company so as to make them efficient. It’s used in improving the quality work of the company generally in all the activities executed not excluding the daily operations which are repetitive. The meth9od study will be used by the company in coming up with the best techniques which are appropriate in the execution of the company operations.
This involves the selection of the operations which need to be done or studied. The other way is have detailed records of the company operations. The recorder information should be studied in details so as to come up with the best changes which should be made. The study will therefore bring out the issues which are to be developed and installed so as to bring the relevant system in place so as to effective execute its operations. The new system which has been installed should be well maintained in a proactive way so as to ensure that the operations are not affected (Glossop, 2007).
Quality management system
The system which is used by the Portakabin Company is the one which has great advantages than any other system. The quality management system offers great advantages to the company than the use of the quality control system. The management system ensures that the buildings constructed are permanent and longer lasting without any effects or measures which will make the building be under any issues which relates to the poor maintenance and its life.
The system also ensures that the buildings are of the current standards which ensure that it can only be relocated and are under the modular technique. The system ensures that the buildings are fully equipped with the all the plumbing required and the electrical systems also are fitted well in the highest quality possible. The heating systems and all the internal settings in the building are well fitted before being taken to the clients’ site (Nanda, 2005).
The quality management system ensures that the buildings are well established within the cost and the period which had been agreed upon and be delivered without any failure.
There is an assurance of the quality of the products which is seen through the office setting to the manufacturing sites in the company. The system ensures that there is no tolerance with poor production services in the company. This has been demonstrated by the award won by the company as ISO 9001 for its quality management system. The management system is excellent since it has the modular construction which offers the users the safest, cleaner and is characterized by silence.
There are no interferences on the organization. The management system also offers a chance for the change in the layout and the on issues related to relocation. The system ensures that there is relocation without any problems. It’s through the quality management system that the company has been outstanding in its service delivery and has been able to be the leading company in the market.