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Electronics Production | June 25, 2009

Lean manufacturing at Flextronics SBS

Part 2 of 4: Lean manufacturing is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful. The EMS-provider Flextronics has been using Lean practices in its Paderborn facility since 2002.
Working from the perspective of the customer, the ‘value’ of something is always defined as any action or process that a customer is willing to pay for – creating more value with less work, so to speak. It was originally derived from the Toyota Production System (TPS). Lean is usually seen as a set of tools – such as Kanban, poka-yoke or Value Stream Mapping (VSM) – that will assist in the elimination of waste (muda).

“We have started quite early with implementing Lean in our production process here. But in 2007, we decided to really push for it. We now have several Value Streams for customers here at Paderborn”, Jürgen Okesson, Director Quality & Process Engineering at Flextronics Paderborn, said.

The first complete Model Value Stream for a customer was completed in March 2008. Other VSM followed and the last Value Stream was implemented in January this year.



“You basically have to eliminate all wasteful activities within the production process, to be able to reach a Lean manufacturing. The original 7 wastes – or mudas – are Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Over Processing and finally Defects. However, no facility can achieve Lean Manufacturing, without involving its employees in the process”, Mr Okesson continued.



All work is done in a u-shape work environment, where unnecessary movement between work stations can be avoided. “Everything works smoothly and is a lot cleaner too. Everything is at a certain place, can easily be found and used directly”, says Mr Fels, production worker at Paderborn.



Lean production however is a continuous improvement to the production process. Employees and management alike are asked to participate in finding solutions. “We are using the Kaizen cards to record and implement improvements to our workspace. Even changes that seem little at first can have a major impact on the quality and speed of our production. Kaizen is based on 5 basic principle – team work – personal discipline – improved morale – quality circles – suggestions for improvements”, Mr Okesson explains.

All workstations have individual Kaizen-Cards, which explain and record improvements to the work space. “All Flextronics facilities that work on a LEAN principle exchange and talk about improvements. This way, these improvements can be implemented all over our production facilities”, Mr Okesson continues.



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This article is part of a series:

Part 1: Flextronics SBS: a specialised organisation within a global company

Part 3: Flextronics: BTO and CTO

Part 4: Flextronics: Virtual prototyping aids quality

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