If you haven’t grown up in it, the manufacturing industry can seem like a different world. Every industry has its own jargon, its own language and short-forms, and manufacturing is no exception.Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the connection between the job someone does or the work that goes on at a certain facility, and the product you eventually buy. It’s easy to feel disassociated from something when the product of the labour seems so different from the job that creates it.
But manufacturing doesn’t have to be complex. Think of the everyday objects you use at school, at home, at work. Your laptop, your phone, even the delicious local food you eat - every object you use has to be manufactured by someone. Think of an object you love and use often, like a guitar or a camera; most of us, even the people who love these products and use them all the time, have no idea how they are made.
But the beauty of learning about and working with different manufacturing processes is you can learn how things are made. Manufacturing allows you to be a part of the history and culture of that object that often stretches back hundreds or even thousands of years.
Now, when you think of manufacturing you may think of impersonal factories that look more like giant robots than places to work. You may think of wasteful business practices that hurt the environment.
The thing is, this vision is outdated, and even the odd time when it is true, there are plenty of companies fighting to change, and you could be a part of that change.
A Different Way of Building Things: Lean Manufacturing
Lean manufacturing is a manufacturing philosophy based on the idea of reducing waste. Lean manufacturing originates in Japanese manufacturing. It was there that companies developed the idea of muda, or the minimization of waste.
Western companies began to take a particular interest in lean manufacturing during the nineties as Toyota, a proponent of lean manufacturing, began to grow from a small Japanese company into the world’s biggest car manufacturer.
As the world’s climate crisis deepens, lean manufacturing, combined with other ideas for reducing waste in manufacturing, has gained a greater following as the need to preserve natural resources increases.
When you join the manufacturing industry, you get the unique opportunity to be part of a long and proud tradition of people who make things, to create better and more useful products. You can be a proponent of a system of manufacturing that is both more profitable and more ethical.
Manufacturing trends don’t have to be obtuse. In fact, lean manufacturing is a philosophy that can be extended to every aspect of daily life. Decluttering your life is good for your mental health and makes you more efficient, and happier! Lean manufacturing be a system worth adopting, in work and life.