How do you cut down manufacturing lead time? Everything from regular meetings with warehouse managers to having an efficient order management system in place can help reduce your manufacturing lead time without sacrificing the quality of your product.

Here are four ways that Traco, America’s leading manufacturer of aluminum building products for the construction industry, use the intense quality measure of Six Sigma¬†and lean manufacturing principles to cut down their manufacturing lead time:

1. Advanced manufacturing practices and reduced manufacturing lead time

Traco made an effort to trim the fat from their manufacturing and focused on less time and material waste. They introduced a new assembly layout that followed the principles of lean manufacturing, instituted a process to approve parts using Six Sigma, and began performing inspections and audits both during the manufacturing process and at completion. In order for these initiatives to be successful, Traco directly engaged employees by showing them how these initiatives made their jobs easier.

2. 5S and assembly layout

A batch processing layout is being ushered out in favor of a layout that supports flow, where a product moves smoothly from step to step. There has also been am emphasis on tidying up the production area with 5S: sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain.

3. A part approval process during production

Traco manufactures cutting edge product that has been optimized for good design plus manufacturing and performance requirements. Part of these process includes making samples in several different stages: a prototype sample, a pilot sample, and a final mock-up sample that is shown to the customer.

4. In-house product audits and inspections

These processes inspect for quality both during production and when the product has been completed. Inspections are completed daily using defined checklists for in-process products, plus the product is audited for aesthetics and operations when it is finished.

Can you incorporate some of these progressive steps into your business to decrease your manufacturing lead times? Constantly re-evaluating the efficiency of your business is paramount to success.