Lean manufacturing continually strives for improvement. Naturally, it also sees room for innovation, growth, and the opportunity to further reduce waste in business operations as the manufacturing industry evolves. This year, some key trends are emerging in lean that, as C Tek shows, can help your business improve its efficiency and in turn keep its customers happy.
The movement towards buying local products has increased over the past 10 years, and that applies to many industries. Now, the concept of localized production will also apply to the industrial sector. This year, one of the key trends in lean manufacturing is expected to be a shift to more localized production, which is driven in large part by the ongoing threats of tariffs, trade issues, and disruption of supply chains around the world.
Lean labor is another emerging trend. Lean labor helps manufacturers continually improve the way that they utilize their employees to meet production demand. Scheduling applications, for instance, helps shift supervisors design shifts with the correct ratio of employees and the different skills that they provide. By producing an efficient and productive match, lean labor reduces overtime expenses and helps a company achieve its revenue goals.
Another lean approach that is gaining traction is 3D printing. Neither concept is new, but for the first time, they are being used together more frequently. The principle behind combining 3D printing and lean manufacturing is that it provides a cost-saving opportunity all around. By incorporating 3D printing into its practices, lean companies can see many benefits, including easier prototyping, better consistency, more creativity, improved efficiency, customized products, local production, and shorter lead times. Additionally, 3D printing has a greater opportunity for creating customized products than regular printing, which has the potential to increase levels of customer satisfaction.
Technology is making itself more prominent in many sectors. Now, technology is finding its way into the manufacturing industry as well. Sectors that traditionally relied on place-based and physical operations were especially hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. While access to workers and physical space were reduced for many companies in 2020, they had continual access to machine learning, computers, robotics, 5G networks, and other critical digital infrastructure to keep their business operations going. Technology has shown that it is here to stay in the manufacturing industry, which continues to diversify and embrace technology.
Sustainability and manufacturing have not traditionally gone hand-in-hand. However, that’s starting to change. Manufacturing is starting to focus more on sustainability by creating more efficient factories that have lower levels of pollution. Green jobs will also be a focus in the industry over the next several years, as will creating more energy-efficient operations.
For more details on the latest trends in manufacturing, ask the experts at C Tek today.