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How Does Lean Manufacturing Work?

by Last updated Dec 12, 2022 | Published on Sep 24, 2019Contract Manufacturing

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Maximizing production plus minimizing waste equals higher profits – this is the lean manufacturing equation in a nutshell. Easier said than done, right? Not really. If you strategize an approach across the board for lean assembly manufacturing, it catches on from your production floor and sometimes even spreads to your vendors and customers.

Empowering the entire Axenics team is a differentiator for us as a contract manufacturer. Everyone in production is cross-trained on multiple tasks to ensure we constantly provide top-tier service. We have welding technicians that also do assembly, perform leak testing and mark parts when the need arises. This lean manufacturing practice enables us to keep headcount down, which reduces our overhead and maintains quality.

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Cross-training also allows us to take on multiple manufacturing tasks for a project or even the complete project, from design expertise to testing to completed components to shipping. For complex projects that we take on from start to finish, we employ the cellular manufacturing process to keep efficiency high. Self-directed team leaders on the floor are empowered to make decisions and push a project through production quickly. The belief at Axenics is that everyone here is going to do the right thing.

Be open to new technology

We’re constantly looking at new equipment, testing it and seeing what makes sense for the variety of ongoing and new jobs. A Horn Metric TBRE Hybrid CNC Bender has earned its sticker price as its usefulness continues to grow. It is one of the most-consistently used pieces of machinery at Axenics.

We like the versatility of this CNC bender for precision tube bending projects, and it proves to be a time- and cost-saving solution for our assembly manufacturing customers. It eliminates the majority of cutting and welding tasks, which results in reduced production times, increased operational efficiency and lower overall costs for everyone. CNC bending also eliminates the need for joint fixtures and welds, which reduces the risk of leak points at welded joints.

Communication is key with lean manufcturing

An open workflow enables everyone to collaborate on improvement. Keeping the lines of communication always open ensures that everyone’s ideas for improvement are heard, considered and often implemented. We hold daily morning check-ins. Open communication between all departments is essential to solve potential problems before production begins. That eliminates a lot of downtime.

“Green” the plant

Lean manufacturing includes waste elimination, so we’re always on the lookout for ways to reduce our footprint. Axenics utilizes LED lighting and automatic lighting shut-off in the plant. A digital storage process reduces paper usage. Plus, our new laser engraver eliminates the need for chemical etching, reducing use and disposal of caustic chemicals.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to assembly manufacturing for advancing tech industries, but one commonality we see across multiple industries is a combination of quality and lead time is what customers really want. Axenics’ lean manufacturing practices aid our efficient project completion and top degree of quality.

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