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Using Dynamics 365 for Lean Manufacturing

Posted by Alanna Friedberg on May 11, 2023 8:25:00 PM


When Toyota started looking for ways to improve process flows in their automobile production lines, they came up with the concept of lean manufacturing. Today, the practice has been adopted in various industries to help companies become more efficient and get ahead of competitors. Dynamics 365 supports lean manufacturing principles by providing capabilities that help organizations cut down on waste and optimize their production flows. 

What is Lean Manufacturing?

The lean manufacturing framework is built around helping companies reduce waste in manufacturing while optimizing production flows. Waste is anything that adds no value and increases company costs in terms of time, labor, or capital. Lean manufacturing methodology covers all information streams and activities. That includes everything that happens from the receipt of raw materials to the time a customer receives a product.

Dynamics 365 offers multiple features that organizations can use to support lean operations. Businesses can set up a lean foundation by modeling various logistics processes within the platform. Users can set up a lean pull system using available kanban boards to track requirements, jobs, and associated tasks.

The lean manufacturing tools within Dynamics 365 let organizations arrange their supply chain management processes in ways that make sense to their business structure. Companies can incorporate strategies for supply chain management, production, and order handling.

Once customers let businesses know how they judge the value of a product, companies can use Dynamics 365 for lean manufacturing support. In addition, the platform makes it easier for organizations to spot inefficiencies and waste in various production flows.  

Is Lean the Same as Six Sigma?

While there are some similarities between Lean and Six Sigma, they take different approaches to eliminating waste. Six Sigma takes a top-down approach to handling waste, while lean principles focus on improving processes starting at the bottom. The framework looks for ways to enhance the performance of individual workers, which translates to more efficiency within an organization.

How Does Dynamics 365 Support Lean Manufacturing?

Dynamics 365 supports the core lean manufacturing principles outlined below:

  • Specify value from customers
  • Locate and set up value streams
  • Enable value from the reception of raw materials to customer delivery
  • Focus on pull production versus push
  • Making process flows as optimized as possible

Let’s take a closer look at capabilities within Dynamics 365 that help support lean manufacturing principles.

1. Customer Value

Dynamics 365 has a customer relationship management (CRM) module that organizations can use to track consumer preferences. It can also function as a centralized location to keep up with consumer feedback or new requirements.

Businesses can also use the sales order module to keep up with new orders. It’s an excellent way to determine which products are successful, giving companies insight into optimizing production to keep up with demand. They can support those efforts with Dynamics 365’s production scheduling module using data collected from customers versus old-school forecasting.

Dynamics 365 provides tools that help companies manage quality levels and track essential metrics like defects, cycle times, and production yields. It also provides analytics and reporting capabilities. Businesses can produce reports that provide critical feedback like customer preferences and production efficiency. Company leaders can spot areas of improvement and find ways to improve their manufacturing processes.

2. Value Streams

Producers can use the value stream maps provided by Dynamics 365 for lean manufacturing needs. They let organizations visualize how materials and data flow from one point to another during the manufacturing process. It’s another way for organizations to locate inefficiencies and develop strategies for eliminating waste.

One way of doing that is by using Dynamics 365 to automate many of the manual tasks involved in manufacturing. That helps streamline processes, reduce costs, and cut down on lead times. In addition, the platform lets users track inventory in real time, which helps businesses maintain optimal inventory levels.

3. Flow Monitoring

Dynamics 365’s real-time data monitoring capabilities help businesses quickly locate any bottlenecks that could slow down production and impact their ability to meet customer demand. The production scheduling module also makes it easier for producers to ensure that they’re using all company resources efficiently.  

4. Pull System Tracking

Using a pull system helps companies optimize production flows around actual consumer demand. They avoid the waste that often occurs with forecast modules by only initiating production when there is a clear demand for products and services.

Dynamics 365 supports pull systems by providing Kanban boards as a visual signaling system. They let businesses know when to ramp up production or replenish their inventory. Organizations can support Kanban boards by connecting to information within other modules like sales order management and production scheduling.  

5. Continuous Improvement

Kaizen events are vital in helping organizations ensure they stay focused on finding ways to improve their lean manufacturing processes. Dynamics 365 supports Kaizen events by providing collaboration tools. Teams can establish each event’s scope, develop goals and objectives, set delivery timelines, and ensure they have all the necessary resources.

After outlining a Kaizen event, teams can use Dynamics 365 to ensure proper implementation of lean manufacturing improvements using the tools provided for process mapping and root cause analysis. From there, teams can verify the effectiveness of any new improvements and set up new operating standards.

Benefits of Using Dynamics 365 for Lean Manufacturing

  • Reduced costs — Dynamics 365 capabilities like automation, inventory tracking, and production scheduling help organizations reduce costs that often result from carrying too much inventory, producing too many products, and other process flow inefficiencies.
  • Quality maintenance — The platform helps organizations spot problems in real-time and establish quality control metrics to identify any issues that could impact customer satisfaction.  
  • Communication support — Dynamics 365 tools facilitate collaborations between teams and business areas, ensuring everyone stays on the same page regarding maintaining efficiency within lean manufacturing workflows.

Make Your Manufacturing Workflows More Efficient

Internet eBusiness Solutions (IES) guides businesses looking for ways to optimize process flows. We help companies find the tools and resources needed to support their objectives. Learn more about how we can help by contacting one of our representatives.

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