LEAN Chinese Manufacturing Support

We speak a lot about being LEAN on Merchsprout and a few people have asked how we use LEAN Chinese manufacturing techniques on our clients’ projects we support worldwide.

LEAN and Mean, what it’s all about?

Lean principles are fundamentally how to minimise waste and maximise value. It’s a very simple principle but can get very complex. So let’s give it a bit of an overview in this blog post. 

To lean up your business process or manufacturing workflow there is a simple anagram that we use to determine the areas of importance when reducing waste.

T- Transport

I- Inventory

M -Motion

W- Waiting

O- Overproduction

O- Overprocessing

D- Defects

S- Skills underutilized

Theory of constraints

A process is only as fast as the slowest process in the step. This is what’s known as a bottleneck.

If you think about any business and apply Tim Woods anagram to it, you can easily start to produce a flow chart in your mind. Inputs in, Processes occur and Outputs come out the back end. If we were to draw that as a flow chart then this would be known as a: 

Value Stream

When we approach any factory, facility or shipping job, we map out a detailed value stream. It can be for absolutely any task in life. Even making a cup of coffee, you have your inputs, processes decision points and outputs. If you wanted to improve your coffee making ability and lean it up you would start by drawing a process map or value stream.

By visualising the value stream you can start to see the bottlenecks and processes. This is where efficiency, reduce time and wastage are highlighted, and ultimately gain that perfect cup of coffee, the most cost-effective way. 

How is this mapped out?

We use FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis), process mapping is investigated, decomposed, and we ask ourselves at each process point is there any Tim Woods opportunities. What can go wrong at each step in the process? In what ways could it fail?

For each of these points how severe is this on a scoring system from 1-10 and how likely are our controls able to detect the cause or failure mode on a 1-10 scale

This is the important bit; at Merchsprout when we are approached by clients to assess facilities for audits or process improvements; we measure detection score on any control in place that captures quality defect:

It’s not enough having quality checks in place….. It’s ensuring they work

What would be the point in a limit if there were no controls in place to capture objects that go beyond? Or worse still; if those controls were in place, but that they were so poorly constructed they failed to capture the objects that were over or under the specification.

Once these items have been scored in the FMEA documentation we are given a Risk Priority Number (RPN). We construct a deep dive and hit those big-ticket RPN numbers first. Ensuring that the control plans that are implemented have action plans of improvement and they have responsible and authorized people in charge. The outcome of improvements is to ensure a control plan controls the subjects, gains the target and specifications and possibly the most important driver; 

Ensures everyone understands How actual performance is made known

This is the key factor we concentrate on when dealing remotely in facilities, it allows us to ensure that targets are not only met, but they are easy to understand and gain real data derived reports easily. We can see if the solutions have been successfully implemented and if not we have a key responsible person who can oversee the implementation, recording and improvement of a process. 

Through the recording and monitoring of the process flows, we can start to develop trends in data. We can measure data against other facilities and industries. We start to understand baselines, and, where we would advise our clients to look in the pursuit of a controlled quality product. 

Organisation leaders are encouraged to embrace a lean mindset. Ensuring that metrics, systems and rewards are aligned to success. Guaranteeing that employees are capable and have the suitable instruction in their areas, and consequently highlight when they are not. By including the employees in the control plan and metrics it ensures that the employee gains a degree of accountability. This drives quality back into the product and reduces waste and improves efficiency.

If you want to see how Merchsprout can help your China manufacturing sites then be sure to get in touch with us below. We offer a wide variety of services that allow you to ensure that your investments in China are kept in check.

What if you don’t have the time to come to China? Yet still want to ensure that you can actively ensure that quality and error-proofing are incorporated into your manufacturing?
Well, we luckily discussed this in a previous blog post.

If you want to have a read further about the services that we offer to drive quality into your manufacturing in China then have a look at the services we offer HERE.

Or if you just want to get in touch and have a chat. Get in touch here. We would love to talk and get to know your Chinese dreams and how to make them a reality.