It is well known that the automotive industry is the seed-bed and home of modern Lean, and to many people the Toyota Production System is just another name for Lean!
In the UK, the recent success of the automotive manufacturing industry has been huge. In June 2017, the sector achieved a record turnover of £77.5 billion marking its seventh consecutive year of growth. This excellent growth has put enormous pressure on the manufacturers to cope with the massively increased demand, and alongside of this, to cope with the many variations and options available to the consumer today.
Visual Management in the Automotive Industry
These pressures are felt not only by the manufacturers of the vehicles themselves, the Original Equipment Manufacturers or OEM’s, but also by the many Tier 1 and 2 manufacturers that they are so dependent on. Clarity are used to working with all tiers of the process and understand the pressure they are under.
The demands of Just In Time Manufacturing (JIT) demand that the full potential of every worker, every minute and every penny is maximised and effective visual management is a key achiever in this regard. For instance, we are working with Lear Corporation who make seats for Jaguar Land Rover where the production line is synchronised with that of Jaguar Land Rover … if Jaguar Land Rover’s production pauses, so does Lear’s!
With time at such a premium, it is obvious that 5S is at the heart of automotive manufacturing, and many of the automotive factories we visit are impressive showcases for 5S. Mobile shadow boards ensure that tools can always be to hand and close to the process as it takes place, and floor markings allow the pattern of work to be immediately apparent to worker and visitor alike.
Reducing tast time is one of the essential focuses of any Lean automotive programme, and Clarity have worked with a number of vehicle manufacturers on Yamazumi charts to help identify areas of the production process that are not adding value in an effort to continuously improve takt time. Our Kamishibai boards are also a regular feature of automotive manufacturing, helping to ensure that the tasks essential for maintaining a finely tuned Lean programme are consistently executed and the workforce remains engaged.