The quest for lean has been a long-pursued endeavor in the world of manufacturing. The more you can reduce waste while gaining a higher throughput, the more profitable your company will be. However, often times lean principles aren't applied until product development is well underway. This creates a situation where inefficiencies and rework run rampant as tasks performed on the project can quickly become obsolete. The best way to remedy this disorder is to start the lean initiative as early in the product development process as possible. Design and manufacturing need to be in sync during the prototype and preproduction phases while having a formal communication schedule at every major milestone along the way.
The aim should be for design to have a grasp on feasibility right off the bat so that each iteration during production is a move forward rather than a threat to product launch deadlines and probability. Manufacturing needs to be cognizant of doing this in a manner that guides design down paths of reduced complexity and lower costs without stifling creativity or inciting a suffocating time crunch. By working hand-in-hand instead of executing a hand off, manufacturing and design can tighten up the current project and learn from each other to get even leaner on the next. For more great tips on how to up your lean ante throughout the production process, check out 5 Ways Lean Product Development Drives Manufacturing Improvement via Georgia's Manufacturing Extension Project.