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Survey on lean manufacturing in Northeast reveals opportunities for boosting efficiency

A new survey by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) reports small job shop owners and their employees need to learn how to reduce set-up cycle time, and more about lean manufacturing principles, workforce development principles, and general business analysis.

The survey, Reporting of the Lean Manufacturing Needs Assessment of Northeast Manufacturers, was conducted in autumn 2002 among registrants of the Eastec Advanced Productivity Exposition (APEX).

The Toyota Production System, known as lean manufacturing, has become a focal point for manufacturers seeking ways to enhance quality, cut costs, reduce waste, and improve overall efficiency.

The SME survey reported that 34% of manufacturers recognized the need for a lean approach or would like to implement lean principles, but are not sure how to proceed. Forty-one percent are either not familiar with lean or have read about it, but have not considered implementing it. Respondents from companies with fewer than 50 employees are less likely to be familiar with lean and are less likely to have implemented it. Midsize companies or OEMs are likely to be more familiar and more likely to have systems in place. Job shop owners and corporate executives are less familiar with lean concepts than manufacturing engineers or quality managers.

As a result of this survey, SME has developed a Lean Manufacturing Pavilion and Conference at Eastec 2003, set for May 20-22, 2003, at the Eastern States Exposition Grounds in West Springfield MA. The pavilion is designed to provide forum for attendees to meet one-on-one with lean consultants and equipment providers. The conference will offer workshops and present case studies.

To obtain more information on Eastec 2003, log onto, phone SME Customer Service at 800-733-4763, or fax inquiries to 313-271-2861. Copies of the survey may be obtained by calling SME Customer Service.

TAGS: Fabrication
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