Material handling and lean manufacturing

Back in the 1900’s, the science of Industrial Engineering (IE) developed and flourished.  The mission of the IE was to reduce labor cost and improve machine utilization.   The cost reduction efforts could be summarized by three axioms;

  1. Eliminate the motion, task or operation if possible
  2. If you can’t eliminate it, then combine with another motion, task or operation
  3. Simplify the element

Industrial Engineers would use these three principles to systematical attack waste in a manufacturing operation.  Waste being defined as operator motions and machine idle time.

In the 1980’s the concepts of lean manufacturing started to evolve.  The above three principles are still effective tools; however the overall approach to reducing cost changed.  Before JIT and Lean manufacturing came about, the primary focus of manufacturing improvement was labor efficiency and machine utilization.   Waste was viewed as idol operator or machine time.

Lean manufacturing ideology dramatically expands the definition of waste to include paperwork, set up, inventory, cycle time, material movement, rework, and scrap and other support activities.  This approach dramatically cut cost, improved quality and reduced cycle time.

We at Packnet are not experts in Lean Manufacturing or Industrial Engineering; however we strongly believe we can help lean manufacturing efforts by bringing in custom packaging solutions for material handling, transport and storage.