Lean Manufacturing is an efficiency improving system developed by the Toyota® Motor Company just after WWII. The system champions efficiency by helping facilities streamline production and eliminate waste. Since its early use in Japan, Lean Manufacturing has gone global and now serves small and large companies all over the world.
Lean Manufacturing, or "Lean," helps facilities recognize production goals and achieve them. Facility managers do so by finding ways to concentrate costs on production requirements and remove wasted energy and time from processes.
Lean implementations are often fostered by several other well-known efficiency improving processes, methods and philosophies.
5S is one of these processes and, when implemented first, can help make Lean more effective. This is because 5S promotes a very visual workplace. Visual Communication helps facilities organize everything from inventory to equipment procedures.
Facilities can increase their efficiencies by using labels, signs, wire wraps, pipe markers and many other 5S labeling and signage tools. Labels and signs play a critical role in the success of Lean. 5S can help prepare a Lean implementation with the right visual communication to build on.
Kaizen is another Lean Manufacturing philosophy used to promote continuous improvement in a facility. This is accomplished by empowering employees to participate in facility improvements.
Managers use this philosophy to help shape new roles for workers through the promotion of teamwork.
Additional methods used to support Lean include Kanban. This method heavily relies on visual communication to provide workers with everything from assembly instruction to storage locations. Lean implementations use this method to improve the flow of inventory through processes.
The most popular supply used in visual communication labeling is premium vinyl tapes. This supply features and industrial-strength topcoat and aggressive copolymer adhesive for lasting service in harsh environments.