When fully implemented, a lean manufacturing strategy transforms the entire manufacturing enterprise by cutting waste and removing non-value added processes. In general, a manufacturer puts into place a lean strategy by:

  • Cultivating a culture of continuous improvement
  • Streamlining processes and creating a well ordered work environment
  • Adopting lean principles company-wide, from senior leadership to production workers

The Role of ERP Systems

ERP systems can play a key role in facilitating lean manufacturing by continually measuring and monitoring key production metrics. A powerful approach is to redesign workflows to follow a lean strategy during ERP implementation. When implemented strategically, manufacturing ERP software provides a lean foundation by capturing mission-critical data that crosses a variety of functional areas including production, inventory management, LERP (lean enterprise resource planning), logistics, scheduling and more.

It’s been my experience that the most successful manufacturers achieve lean success when they use ERP to track and monitor the following metrics from their ERP systems:

  • Equipment reliability data
  • Organized, documented work instructions
  • Material flows
  • Defect, production quality metrics
  • Customer demand requirements
  • Inventory levels

While not an exhaustive list, the areas above have one thing in common: successful manufacturers use their ERP solutions to clearly see operations via continuously monitored data that is available throughout the organization.

By measuring production data relative to material flow, production traceability, resource performance, production quality and other areas, manufacturers gain a better ability to identify continuous improvement opportunities and remove waste.


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