Lean Manufacturing Essentials To Look For In A Contract Manufacturer

Posted by Craig Zoberis

Jul 29, 2014 7:00:00 AM

lean manufacturing essentialsAt its core, lean manufacturing is about preserving production with less waste and less work to improve service value for the customer. As an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), when considering outsourcing to a contract manufacturer, it’s essential to confirm the contract manufacturer is using lean manufacturing best practices.

Entering a partnership with a contract manufacturer, in which you trust them to manufacture your product with absolutely efficiency, is all about achieving perfect workflow to reduce costs (and headaches) for your OEM. When a contract manufacturer is implementing lean manufacturing practices, they are focused on getting the right things to the right place at the right time, and in the right quantity.

When your contract manufacturer is implementing lean manufacturing, they are creating a sustainable organizational structure that’s simple to understand, enact and manage.

The following lean manufacturing best practices are the essential ways in which your contract manufacturer works to improve the value of their services for you:

Does your contract manufacturer hold daily morning huddles?

A brief morning huddle, every day, is a great way for a contract manufacturer to concentrate their efforts on lean manufacturing activities and accountability.

During daily huddles, your contract manufacturer should take under 10 minutes to chat with employees about what happened yesterday and what improvements may be made today. Your contract manufacturer should also use this time to assign and re-assign responsibilities until successful completion of a task. This helps ensure everything is on track for the week.

Daily huddles are not time to share information of lower importance or to have long discussions – these types of topics should be taken up at another time.

Is your contract manufacturer’s facility flawless?

When it comes to lean manufacturing best practices, your contract manufacturer should be implementing the “5 S’s” to achieve a clean, productive workspace that allows for improved workflow.

Here’s how the 5 S’s checklist breaks down:


  • Remove unnecessary items

  • Make work easy by eliminating obstacles

  • Provide no chance of being disturbed with unnecessary items

  • Prevent accumulation of unnecessary items

  • Evaluate the unnecessary items


  • Arrange necessary items in order, so they are easily picked for use

  • Prevent loss and waste of time

  • Make it easy to find and pick up necessary items

  • Ensure a first-come-first-serve basis

  • Make workflow smooth and easy


  • Clean your workplace completely

  • Use cleaning as inspection

  • Prevent machinery and equipment deterioration

  • Keep workplace safe for employees


  • Maintain high standards of cleanliness and housekeeping at all times

  • Maintain organization and orderliness

  • Maintain everything in order and according to its standard


  • To maintain working order

Once the 5 S’s are achieved, your contract manufacturer is better able to improve inventory and motion, two aspects of any facility that contribute to mistakes and downtime.

Does your contract manufacturer make the customer everyone’s business?

Your OEM is the very reason for a contract manufacturer to exist. You essentially pay the wages of your contract manufacturer’s workers, so the contract manufacturer’s workers should understand how their work contributes to a successful outcome for you OEM. This way, employees care to work efficiently and effectively.

Part of the lean manufacturing mentality is to recognize that there is always room for improvement by eliminating non-value-added activities.

When your contract manufacturer is incorporating lean manufacturing practices in their facility, they are constantly striving to reduce waste, improve quality, reduce time and reduce total costs.

Ready to learn more about lean manufacturing practices to look for in a contract manufacturer and how they benefit your OEM? Call me, Craig Zoberis, at 630-948-4879 or click on the button below to speak with a contract manufacturing expert at FusionOEM.

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