Process Automation is a Principle Tenet of Lean Manufacturing
Many often disregard process automation when implementing lean manufacturing principles. They usually opt for automating the production line and forget the fact that eliminating waste requires process improvement throughout the production system. If you are also overlooking process automation when implementing lean manufacturing, then continue reading to find out the benefits you'll miss.
What is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is the methodology of reducing or eliminating waste while maintaining or increasing productivity. Your business processes become efficient and more effective when you apply lean manufacturing principles, and as a result, your business gains an edge over competitors. Lean manufacturing principles aren't limited to the manufacturing business; you can apply these principles to any business type. There are five major principles of lean manufacturing;
- Identifying value
- Mapping value stream
- Creating flow
- Establishing pull
- Seeking perfection
What is Process Automation?
Process automation or business process automation or digital transformation means using digital technology to automate complex business processes. It involves using software applications and reconstructing labor resources to benefit the production system, inventory, supply chain, management, administration, IT, sales, and marketing. Lean manufacturing principles are significantly less effective because process automation is absolutely singular when it comes to eliminating waste and reducing cost.
Benefits of Process Automation in Lean Manufacturing
Implementing process automation in lean manufacturing provides the following benefits.
Eliminating Waste Becomes Easier and Faster
There's no match for process automation when it comes to eliminating waste. By properly setting up your process automation program along with an automated production system, you can eliminate waste and the amount of scrap you produce during the manufacturing process. Manual systems can't offer the same efficiency even if every single member of your team is highly skilled. Automation systems simultaneously perform multiple tasks, which are impossible in manual systems.
Process automation allows you to maintain or improve productivity while freeing up the workforce and reducing the number of resources required throughout the manufacturing process. An automated production system, along with an efficient automation system and skilled operators, is the best way to reduce costs and eliminate waste.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Manual systems require significant efforts to report the production status, but by linking your production system with an efficient business automation system, you can easily generate reports in real-time. The IoT that process automation provides frees you and your team to focus on more crucial work that increases customer satisfaction and efficiently take care of all the time consuming – repetitive tasks.
Increases Worker Safety
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 2.9 workplace injuries occurred in 2015. As we all know, workplace injuries are a nightmare, not just for the injured employee but also for the business. Implementing process automation can partially or completely eliminate the need for human intervention, making the workplace safer and significantly reducing the number of injuries.
Employee absences and leaves can negatively impact your overall productivity, and effectively managing the workforce can be a bit hard. But by implementing process automation, you can efficiently manage your workforce, streamline time-consuming and repetitive tasks, and eliminate overhead, all of which maximizes productivity.
By automating your business processes, you can get a clear, complete, and accurate view of your workforce, which leads to reduced overheads and costs and an increase in productivity. With an efficient employee management system (EMS), you can easily automate attendance management to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, ensure internal policy compliance, etc. You can also generate real-time reports and compare productivity with labor-related expenditures, which also reduces waste and improves productivity.
How to Implement Process Automation in Lean Manufacturing
Implementing process automation for lean manufacturing can be tricky; however, you can avail of a consulting company's services that can tailor a solution specifically for your needs. The implementation usually includes the following steps.
Review Business Processes
The first step of implementing process automation for lean manufacturing is to review and identify business processes that aren't as efficient as they should be. Lean manufacturing goals are to reduce or eliminate waste, generate value for the customers, and improve productivity, so identify the process that isn't helping you achieve the goals mentioned above. Then you need to devise a plan to either automate (if integral) or eliminate those processes. Choose automation systems that are flexible and scalable; this will allow you to adapt to the weathering changes of the workflow easily.
Identify Internal Talent
Identifying capable team members within your facility is very important when it comes to implementing process automation, even if you are hiring external consultants. These team members can help you identify the business processes that require changes and act as a buffer for communication between you and your workers. Process automation is often met with resistance from the workers because they feel like they aren't valued and needed anymore. Still, when you have a spokesperson on the inside, then you can maintain an open line of communication and let the workforce know that they are valued and vital.
Review Tools and Tech
Process automation isn't about automating processes without onboarding the people who have to work with the automation solution. You need to choose the tools and tech your people are familiar with and can easily learn. Process automation is supposed to support your employees' work, so process improvement should be its main focus. Opt for the tools and tech that require minimal training and don't disrupt your business processes.
Process Automation with Infowise Solutions
With almost two decades of experience, Infowise is one of the industry-leading providers of process automation solutions. Our solutions are easy to learn and can deploy with minimum effort. Team members can learn how to use our solutions with minimum or no training. The best part about Infowise Solutions is that they are easy to scale and can be customized as per your needs using your web browser. Without writing a single line of code, you can automate multiple business processes, including task assignment, list generation, form creation, alerts, calendars, etc. To learn more about our business processes and workflow automation solutions, download the free trial or request a free demo.
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