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Lean 5.0 – New Lean Processes for the Autonomous Age

Discover how to make your processes leaner, greener, and smarter and integrate IIoT, AI, and autonomous manufacturing.
Written by
Published on
December 4, 2023

Let’s face it – lean methodology needs an Industry 5.0 update.

There’s no doubt that lean or agile methodology revolutionized manufacturing when it was first introduced in the 90’s and widely adopted in the 2000’s.

There’s also no doubt that lean principles are still relevant today. In fact, with a growing global focus on environmental sustainability, finding effective ways to minimize waste, while simultaneously maximizing productivity is the holy grail.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of steps you can take to make sure that your manufacturing company is getting leaner and greener by the day…

1. Make inspection routines and PDCA smarter 

In the new paradigm of highly connected and automated smart manufacturing, the way we carry out lean practices need to be updated to include technological solutions, especially the use of IIoT, automated data analysis, and AI engines/machine learning models. 

Traditional inspections and PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) tend to rely on things like clipboard walkarounds and the use of daily dashboards. We need to ask ourselves – is this really the best use of time and energy, when we have smart manufacturing solutions that can automatically collect the data we need, analyze it, and present valuable insights?

A recent report from the University of Lisbon makes a similar point, that in today’s smart manufacturing world, continuous improvement (CI) and lean practices require a conceptual and practical shift to data-driven Industry 4.0 solutions.   

2. Focus on autonomous manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is all about maximizing throughput while using less resources and effort. By applying lean practices, the pace of production is continuously increased by carefully controlling material flow and production processes. Autonomous manufacturing is all about applying smart automated systems, processes, and machinery.

The combination of lean and autonomous manufacturing requires a flexible approach. The overarching goal is to continuously improve the level of automation (ability of production equipment to perform a certain number of tasks without human assistance) and the associated control intelligence (ability to orchestrate multiple production processes across multiple assets). 

Lean and autonomous manufacturing goes from a level zero – where all operations are manual and human-controlled, to increasingly advanced levels whereby mobile robots perform complex production operations autonomously and production data is used to dynamically optimize production schedules in real-time. The addition of machine learning helps to optimize the control parameters of the machines and equipment.

3. Apply the 5 principles for continuous improvement 

Lean 5.0 is based on five key principles of continuous improvement (CI):

1) Sense the customer’s needs and adapt your business processes to suit

2) Make every stage of production responsive to the customer

3) Apply technology and data analytics to improve quality and safety

4) Automate processes and workflows to increase efficiency and productivity (as well as save money)

5) Eliminate waste through "kaizen"— a continuous improvement process that involves everyone from executives down through the ranks of employees.

Lean 5.0 is a blend of the old and new agile ways of thinking and working. To follow the five principles and make your operations leaner and greener, you need to set out a strategy that involves digital cloud, data, and AI technology.  

4.  Create a lean 5.0 toolkit

Once you have a CI strategy in place, the final step is to implement the right kind of technology to really move the needle on your operations.

Data and control intelligence is the key to successfully launching a leaner future. 

Intelligent and autonomous manufacturing relies on applying the right tools. A digital autonomous manufacturing platform such as o3 provides everything you need to enable Lean 5.0 principles.

o3 is primarily a manufacturing productivity platform that allows you to gather data from your processes and workflows, and gain actionable insights generated by machine learning models.

IIoT sensors will capture data, sending it through secure gateways for deep analysis. o3’s intuitive dashboard provides you with real-time insights into your operations. You can control, manage, and improve everything from supply chain activities to production and beyond.

To find out more about the o3 platform and how it can help you on your Lean 5.0 journey, book a demo today.

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