In the last decade we’ve seen significant changes in the furniture manufacturing industry. New developments in the way we produce furniture play a key role in that change. These developments lead to new manufacturing techniques, processes, and materials that ultimately serve to improve upon older models.
Most of these new advancements in furniture design stem from the steadily increasing industry demand in recent years. America is the one of the fastest growing furniture manufacturing markets in the world. A recent report by Technavio (an independent global market research firm) states that furniture manufacturers could expect a 20% increase in demand just this year. Because of this increase in demand, advanced techniques were needed to improve productivity on the shop floor, in the warehouse, and during the transportation of products.
Many manufacturers accomplish this by adopting “lean manufacturing” techniques. The concept behind lean manufacturing is to eliminate everything from the process that does not offer value to the end result. The “end result” in most instances being: 1) meeting industry requirements and 2) achieving customer satisfaction.
The manufacturing processes - from sourcing the raw materials needed to make the furniture, all the way to actually delivering the product - are taken down to the essentials in order to eliminate waste without sacrificing productivity. Muda, the Japanese word for waste, is used to indicate anything that doesn’t provide value to the customer. The goal is to completely optimize the manufacturing process, thereby offering a better turnaround time. This allows furniture manufacturers to better realize their customer’s needs in a timely manner.
Some may argue that this faster turnaround method would mean a lower standard of quality. However, lean manufacturing is built upon the concept of Kaizen, or “continuous improvement” in Japanese. Improving the overall manufacturing process also includes finding ways to continuously improve the quality of the products as well.
Achieving better quality starts with acquiring a steady supplier of quality raw materials. Many lean manufacturers source their materials locally, so as not to risk unwelcome delays. One of the main requirements of lean manufacturing is for a “continuous flow” of production, and delays can be caused through communication failure, increased transportation costs, or subpar materials that do not meet U.S. safety standards. McCourt Manufacturing uses U.S. certified steel and aluminum, along with high pressurized laminate, plywood, and high-grade polyethylene (which is an extremely tough plastic polymer) in our products. By using only the highest quality furniture materials we ensure our products are long-lasting and that our customers are satisfied with the end product.
Lean manufacturing also applies to the manufacturing process and transportation of the products. Lean manufacturing’s pillar concepts fall under JIT (Just-in-time) which refers to the “flow” of an unhindered production process and Heijunka, which refers to anticipating unpredictable customer needs. Alos, Jidoka, which improves the process by assessing and eliminating the root causes of defects, while Standard Working means documenting the standard that lead to the best product output and using that as the standard for future operations.
All of these concepts work together in lean manufacturing to improve the manufacturing process and achieve customer satisfaction.
Get a better turnaround time without sacrificing quality! Call McCourt Manufacturing today at 479-783-2593 or 800-333-2687. Make sure to check us out on our social media pages to stay up to date on our latest products and offers!