The concept of lean manufacturing, or lean as it is sometimes called, has been around for decades and focuses on streamlining production to improve value and productivity while minimizing waste. From a lean perspective, waste is considered anything that does not add value.
What are the Key Strategies of Lean Manufacturing?
Below is a summary of the 5 key principles of lean manufacturing. When implemented effectively, lean manufacturing results in significant efficiencies and productivity gains that lower production costs – providing the competitive edge companies are seeking. These concepts can be successfully applied to any sector including medical manufacturing.
- Value – this principle is based on how the customer defines “value”. It is nearly impossible to streamline a manufacturing process if the value points are not clearly understood.
- Value Stream – this step involves mapping out the processes that contribute to the value stream from beginning to end. It often starts with raw material acquisition and ends when the final product is delivered to the customer. This is a crucial aspect of lean manufacturing as the purpose is to identify potential waste areas and then work to reduce or eliminate the waste.
- Flow – once the waste is removed, the manufacturing operations should run more smoothly and efficiently. Teams should revisit the value stream to ensure all waste has been removed where possible.
- Pull – with the process running more smoothly, products can be manufactured and delivered “just in time”, reducing inventory requirements and costs. This also results in shorter time to market, further driving competitiveness.
- Perfection – the final principle is about continuous improvement as lean manufacturing is intended to be an on-going assessment to avoid waste and inefficiencies from creeping back into the process. Companies with a lean culture ensure all personnel are empowered to participate in continuous improvement efforts.
Looking for an efficient and reliable partner for your medical manufacturing project?
Contact ProMed to learn about our lean manufacturing approach and the range of silicone injection molding solutions we offer.
How is Lean Manufacturing Applied to Medical Manufacturing?
Let us now discuss how lean principles can be applied to medical manufacturing. There are several types of waste that are often identified when a lean approach is used in medical manufacturing: surplus inventory, unnecessary motion (of personnel or equipment), waiting (personnel or machinery), over-processing or over-engineering a product, off-spec product or other quality issues, inefficient logistics and transportation – and various others.
When lean principles are applied, these sources of waste are reduced, or even eliminated, improving operations efficiency and product quality – adding significant value for customers. With shorter production times, medical manufacturers are more nimble and able to respond to customer needs and market conditions. Additionally, lean strategies can be applied to supply chain and product development processes, leading to quicker speed to market and a significant competitive edge.
At ProMed, the main focus of our lean manufacturing techniques is maximizing customer value while minimizing waste – and we empower every employee to make a difference. Our team achieves these objectives through the application of Lean Six Sigma methodologies. Six Sigma and lean are both process improvement programs used in medical manufacturing, each focused on the same goal: eliminate waste in order to elevate production efficiency.
The professionals at ProMed monitor product and process performance during the development and production phases of manufacturing by incorporating Lean Six Sigma quality management principles. As part of our commitment to quality, we have certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belts on our team and we use a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification program to train our personnel on lean manufacturing principles. These efforts ensure we reliably deliver the highest quality products to our customers.
ProMed – Your Silicone Injection Molding Partner
ProMed was founded in 1989 to address an industry need for cleanroom manufacturing of silicone components, specifically those having a medical application. We have garnered a reputation as the world benchmark of implantable silicone components and assemblies – and are one of few companies in the world to provide contract manufacturing of drug-eluting products.
ProMed has expertise in working with the full spectrum of silicones covering a wide range of properties and characteristics. We will assist in your material selection to help ensure all design requirements are met. Our manufacturing facilities and equipment are designed for a single purpose—to mold medical and implantable silicone, combination components, and bio-material grade plastics with uncompromising quality and service. We currently have four divisions that are located within two manufacturing sites. All are certified class 10,000 / ISO Class 7 cleanrooms.
We can identify the right manufacturing solution for any project. We have extensive experience in a wide range of injection molding techniques including:
- Automated Injection Molding
- Multi-cavity tooling
- Micro molds and micro molding
- Servo-controlled de-molding capabilities
- Insert molds, overmolds, and automation integration
- Transfer molding
- Compression molding