Learn how to get lean by minimizing waste and maximizing value.

Few economists are predicting a crash, but many are expecting a slowdown in 2019. According to Fortune magazine, the global economy probably won’t enter a recession next year. Yet growth is expected to slow not just in the United States, but also in Canada, Europe, and around the world.

What does this mean for your business? Will you need to adjust your operations? Even if you disagree with most economic forecasts, a culture of continuous improvement can make your company more competitive. It starts with lean thinking, an approach that maximizes value while minimizing waste.  

Sometimes, there are opportunities for improvement in places you may not consider. If your company needs seals, gaskets, and insulation, here are five ways to get lean in 2019.

1. Excess Inventory

Are you buying rubber materials before you need them? Maybe you’re stockpiling rubber products instead. Either way, excess inventory is a form of waste. You might think you’re getting a bargain by buying higher volumes at lower unit prices, but you’re also tying up cash. The way to get lean is to order what you need when you need it from a supplier who makes on-time deliveries.        

2. Waiting to Work

Do your employees have to wait for materials to arrive? Or do they have everything they need except time to do the work? Before you decide that in-house fabrication is cheaper, look at your asset utilization. It’s wasteful when employees are idle, or when processes stall because workers are busy. It’s also wasteful when a higher-paid employee performs a task (such as gasket cutting) that a lower-paid worker could do.  

3. Transportation

How does work flow through your facility? When a shipment arrives, do workers stock parts or send them straight to the assembly line? Do poor layouts, double handling, or multiple storage locations make it hard to stack, retrieve, and ultimately use rubber products and materials? Transportation isn’t just about trucking. It’s about the way you move goods in-house.

4. Motion

Motion is similar to transportation, but it’s more about the worker than the product. Workers who walk warehouse aisles in search of seals, gaskets, or insulation aren’t engaged in productive activities. Inventory arrangements that force employees to bend, reach, or otherwise risk bodily injury are wasteful, too. If you want to get lean, remember to treat time like money.

5. Defects

Do workers do the job the right way the first time? Do they have the tools, training, and experience that they need? Sealing and insulation that’s mis-cut creates material waste. You may never know how much rubber gets discarded either. Low-quality cuts may seem good enough, but a gasket that’s not well-made may cause customers to question your entire product design. Rework is expensive, too. 

Get Ready to Get Lean in 2019

Elasto Proxy provides sealing and insulation solutions that can help you get lean in 2019. Instead of buying too much material or risking stock-outs, ask us for deliveries that align with your sales forecasts. We’re not just a distributor, however. Elasto Proxy is a custom fabricator than can supply you with finished gaskets. We also supply custom-packaged kits that contain all of the rubber and plastic parts you need.

Instead of stocking parts separately and then picking them at a later date, you can ask for a kit that moves from your receiving department to your assembly line. The rubber products you’ll receive are also well-made. Our water jet cutting equipment is more efficient than manual gasket cutting. Elasto Proxy also offers bonding, taping, lamination, and other value-added services.

Are you read to maximize value and reduce waste in 2019? Then it’s time to talk to Elasto Proxy

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