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Kanban Tools for Lean Manufacturing
- Pull Production: A foundational concept of manufacturing Kanban is pull production, whereby a product is pulled through the manufacturing process rather than pushed. As a product is ordered, it enacts a workflow that works backward through the manufacturing process, requesting the inventory purchasing and manufacturing lines only after the order has been confirmed. A variety of Kanban flows are possible in Epicor, including real-time manufacturing data which will give downstream suppliers visibility of future demand and allow you to dynamically operate and schedule production according to the ebb and flow of your business.
- Real-Time Stocking and Purchasing: Because your manufacturing system is working backwards from the product order, any stock replenishment or supply purchasing can be automatically requested after enough orders have been made to require restocking. That means you don’t need to spend time planning your weekly re-order of resources for replenishment. Instead, suppliers will get notified of future demand and know exactly when a particular stock replenishment is required.
- Inventory Reduction: Manufacturing Kanban flows in Epicor can help you reduce on-hand inventory. Initially, this may seem counterintuitive. After all, you ask, wouldn’t you want product on hand when a customer orders it? However, this line of thought can severely limit your business’ manufacturing capability. Imagine a client wants a certain part customized, or orders several different products—some of which you already have in stock and others that are manufacture-to-order. If you’re relying on a warehouse full of already-made product, delivery times will be inconsistent, and customizations costly. By keeping your business demand-focused through pull production technology, only the products that have already been sold will be made. That means you only spend money and time manufacturing (and storing) products you know won’t sit around in a warehouse.
- Lean Performance Metrics: Epicor’s Production Activity function allows businesses to automatically capture production data through manufacturing centers on the floor. You can then define lean performance metrics that suit your business’ unique processes and goals and measure real-time success against them. Your lean parameters can include period, day, week, resource group or even free-form categories that your business needs, like seasonality of product. You’ll be able to locate specific areas of waste and then fine-tune your ERP to attack them head-on.
- Hybrid Options: Epicor gives companies the ability to create user-defined rules that will flag parts for Kanban control at the part, warehouse, individual bin or cell location level. If you only want certain parts to be subject to Kanban pull production flows—perhaps the ones that are ordered less often or tend to be highly customized—that is also possible. No one business operates the same way, and the flexibility of Epicor’s Kanban functionality acknowledges that. Epicor ERP can equip you with the tools for success, however heavily you want to use Kanban on your shop floor. Once you have mastered manufacturing Kanban flow with the help of Epicor’s production management suite, you’ll be able to adopt lean principles seamlessly into your manufacturing lines. That means lower production costs, greater adaptability, product flexibility and quality.
If you would like to learn more about leveraging enterprise software to cut costs and adopt lean principles on your manufacturing floor, get in touch with one of our consultants at Datix today! We’re an Epicor Gold Partner that specializes in helping businesses use Epicor to transform their manufacturing processes for the better. Our expert consultants have decades of experience in lean principles, Six Sigma and global manufacturing concerns. Contact us to get started on streamlining your manufacturing floor!