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Agile vs. Lean Manufacturing



Moving towards a lean manufacturing strategy is a big point of interest in today’s supply chain industry. With its obvious benefits such as cost savings, improved efficiency, and reduction of waste it’s easy to see why more and more companies want to shift their production to this methodology. However, having the right data can make all the difference in the performance of a lean manufacturing system. Having a more agile approach to the implementation of a lean production system allows manufacturers to see what is important to their process and what is waste before they make any decisions to eliminate any processes.

As the name suggests, lean manufacturing is the process in which manufacturers cut all the fat from their operations eliminating wasted products as well as wasted time. The goal here is efficiency, but before any decisions can be made on what aspects of production can be reduced, you first need to establish which aspects cost the most and are the most time consuming, yet are not absolutely essential to the process

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Conversely, a more agile approach to manufacturing is all about the data. Companies who are able to keep real-time records of the data throughout their entire operation are able to adapt and adjust to the ever-changing information of their supply chain. Having all this information at the tips of your fingers allows manufacturers to find low points in productivity as well as areas where non-essential procedures and processes account for wasted time and money. As the data changes over time, so can the approach these companies take to eliminate these areas of wastefulness.

Adopting a leaner approach to manufacturing enables these companies to eliminate wasteful procedures that cost them both time and money increasing their efficiency and improving their ROI. However, it's essential to base your adjustments in your processes on accurate and timely historical data. Integrating your lean manufacturing techniques with an agile framework allows real-time data to definitively show you where areas of wastefulness are appearing in your operation. As this data changes over time, you are able to see where new areas are appearing or where old problematic areas are making a reappearance allowing you to adjust accordingly.

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