Andon is the Japanese term for a signaling system within a production/processing line. These systems are a communication tool and are used to tell others the status of a production line to everyone on the production floor. They’re a very common tool in the manufacturing industry as more companies look for more ways to improve their production processes.
Andon boards usually have a comprehensive set of signals on display, including KPIs or data that involve the production process. They can help the production workers with their communication on the factory floor, aiding in quality control by stopping production where necessary and when they happen. Andons help manufacturers to accomplish their Lean manufacturing goals by streamlining the communications process on the manufacturing floor, and they’re an essential component in efficiency.
What Is “Lean” Manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is a system of techniques for running a manufacturing service. The way it works is to remove all activities in a business process that does not add value. It also removes waste from a business process. There are eight different defined types of waste – the unnecessary work that is performed as a result of errors or miscommunication. Often, professionals debate whether there is more than that, but the best way to remember the types of waste is with the acronym DOWNTIME. The eight pieces of waste include:
- · Defects
- · Overproduction
- · Waiting
- · Non-used Talent
- · Transportation
- · Inventory
- · Motion
- · Extra-Processing
When your business uses Lean manufacturing principles, you can gain a competitive advantage in improved productivity and lower operating costs. There are so many benefits for a company implementing Lean principles in their workplace, and many believe – mistakenly – that Lean only works in manufacturing. It’s not the case, but it’s the first place that companies implement it because it works.
Why Manufacturers Are Trying To Be Lean
A lean manufacturer understands the customer and their value, and they focus their processes to increase it continuously. The goal for a manufacturer is to provide the perfect value to the customer with a process with zero waste. When a manufacturer accomplishes this, lean thinking is in place as it changes management focus from the optimization of separate technologies, assets and vertical departments to product flow. Eliminating waste through these value streams create processes that are leaner than previously done, and that requires a lot less human effort, less capital and less space. Companies will then be able to respond faster to the changing needs of the customer, while also offering high quality and variety to them at a low cost.