In this blog I have discussed about the relationships between lean manufacturing and information technology. Software industry and IT can get great lessons from lean. On the other hand lean manufacturers can use IT to help their efforts in the journey.
First of all it is important to understand that software alone will not make you lean or even efficient. In most of the cases IT plays an important support role. Good processes can be made more effective and efficient with software and application of IT not the other way around.
It is important to know where IT can help you in your lean efforts. Some examples are given below.
- Information Technology can be used in communicating data fast and accurately. Sharing the same piece of truth is very important to run a lean system effectively.
- Collection and processing of data is another very important area where IT can help the lean manufacturer. Collecting data and analysis will help you in better decision making.
- Some of the work can be automated using the IT technology. For an example rather than creating a purchase order every time, the system can be configured in such a way that it can pass the requirement to the suppliers in a predefined interval based on the TAKT time.
When implementing complicated IT systems it is important to make sure the systems also are following the concepts of lean. For an example;
- Collecting and accumulating data which are not used for decision making will increase the workload for people and machinery and also will serve no purpose; hence it creates the wastes of over processing and inventory.
- Systems must be made to update just in time and possibilities of erroneous data into the systems must be eliminated making the system error proofed.
In simple terms implementing an IT system will not solve your problem or will not make you a lean manufacturer. You have to put the processes in place first to be facilitated by IT in true lean manner. Like in lean manufacturing, it is important to apply the concepts of lean in designing the suitable IT systems for you. Good IT systems and good lean processes will make you a better lean manufacturer.