It is the information age without any doubt. This is because information is available to everyone faster and easier. But this doesn’t mean all this information is required or useful. We still have to use this information effectively and efficiently in order to create value to the system. Lean manufacturing concepts can be used in streamlining your information flow.
A lean information system is essential for the success of any lean manufacturing system. Without this synchronization it is impossible to have a good lean manufacturing facility. Most of the organizations have very poor information systems. For an example many organizations use email in day to day communication. They use many contacts on their CC lists to keep people informed. But in many instances these people are not directly involved in the process and they do not need this piece of information. Think for a moment. How many valuable man hours are wasted in this? This kind of information handling can also lead to confusions.
Every waste mentioned in manufacturing context can be identified in the context of communication as well. Overloading of information corresponds to over production. Waiting is common for both manufacturing and communication. Avoiding all these wastes can make your information system lean.
Information must be available for required parties when they are required, in other words just in time. This will make your system much more responsive and less complicated. No one should be overloaded with information. Only required information must be passed to the parties relevant. Data accumulation should not be allowed. Data must be directed to the people who use it. Longer channel lengths can create distortion and delays in the process of communication. This will create your lean information system.
In summery, to have a successful lean manufacturing system we must have an efficient information handling system. All the wastes in manufacturing context are applicable in the context of information handling.
Aza Badurdeen is a process engineer, consultant and a lean manufacturing author. You can refer his FREE E e-book “lean manufacturing basics ” to get more information on lean manufacturing and related concepts.