Striving For Continuous Improvement:

How Software Solutions Assist In Lean Manufacturing

For manufacturing companies, the principles of lean production can provide the foundation for an optimized and effective process that delivers maximum value to customers and reduces company waste. The systems within an organization are just as critical to the success of lean manufacturing as the employees. Having the right software can be the difference between achieving a lean operation and falling short for many manufacturers. While full scale ERPs are expensive and often complicated to use, custom software can pose a lean technology solution for companies of any size.

What is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing consists of two parts: an ideal and the means by which to implement that ideal. Without both elements, lean manufacturing cannot be successful.

By adhering to a lean manufacturing philosophy, businesses perpetually seek to maximize efficiency while delivering the greatest possible value to its customers. Lean manufacturing aims to provide the customer with exactly what they need at precisely the moment at which they need it. To provide your customer with excess creates waste; to provide them with a product that falls short of their needs will sink your business.

Lean manufacturing cannot thrive on an ideal alone. It requires hands-on application, and that’s where kaizen comes in. Kaizen is a Japanese word that means “change for the better,” and refers to the cycle of continuous improvement that transforms lean manufacturing from an ideal to an effective, practical ideology. Kaizen can be applied not only to products, but to people, tools, and workflows.

The Principles of Lean Manufacturing

There are five core principles that comprise the foundation for a successful lean operation.

How Can Software Solutions Assist In Lean Manufacturing?

The answer is in the kaizen.

The software development life cycle goes hand in hand with the five lean principles, kaizen always top of mind. Just like lean manufacturing is a cycle of continuous improvement aimed at achieving perfection, the same applies to software development.

Software development begins with creating a plan for what the final product should be that is followed through in the design stage, and then executed by developers. Once the software is built, beta testing begins. If the software doesn’t perform as expected, the cycle begins again with a return to the planning stage. It is only once the final product is perfected that the software is released to the client and then to the end user. However, because the process is a cycle, not a straight line, it does not end once the product is launched. Software requires ongoing support and as clients begin to use it and provide feedback, developers eagerly await the opportunity to make improvements. Software development, like lean manufacturing, is an endless loop of striving for incremental improvement on the road to perfection.

Lean manufacturing requires an all-hands-on-deck mentality from every employee in order to be effective, but lean manufacturing doesn’t rely solely on the kaizen of people. It relies on the kaizen of tools and systems that employees use to perform their jobs. It relies on lean technology.

The Zelifcam Approach

Zelifcam prides itself on being experts at workflow automation and we approach software development the same way you approach lean manufacturing: We find opportunities for kaizen.

Zelifcam takes the time to embed itself in your manufacturing company so that we can understand the processes and workflows you already have in place. Only then can we begin to identify opportunities for improvement and build custom software solutions to get you one step closer to perfection.

We have extensive experience in developing software tailored to manufacturing companies of every size and scope. Zelifcam has created tools for label printing, audit logs, barcode scanning, and pull systems.

While larger manufacturing companies can certainly benefit from lean production and custom software solutions, it’s the smaller companies that often see the biggest results. Making production more efficient and delivering the maximum value to your customers creates the ability to scale your business when your pull system signals the need.

Implementing a full scale ERP system can be costly and complicated, but with Zelifcam it’s no longer a necessity. Lean production is possible and more affordable than many would imagine. With Zelifcam’s custom software solutions, you can turn your company’s ideals into a practical ideology, eliminating waste and keeping your customers coming back for more.