Andon Lean Manufacturing

The Andon Lean Manufacturing Tool

Andon is a “visual control” device that shows machine, line or process status. It is a very useful tool in lean manufacturing systems where the main goal is to reduce production waste in all levels.

Using andon boards can help the industry guide, monitor and ensure productivity. Andon boards also double as early warning devices because audible alarms or warning messages usually accompany them to
communicate a problem.

With andon boards installed in lean manufacturing warehouses, workers can instantly see order status, priorities and many relevant productivity measurements even from more than 100 feet away. Critical areas in lean manufacturing where andon boards can be used are manufacturing, inventory management, storage, receiving, picking and shipping.

By using andon boards in a lean manufacturing system, there is evidently better coordination of orders, parts, priorities and flow thus an improvement of customer service.

In shipping for example, andon boards can display queuing information, priorities, pick-up and departure and wait times, truck directions and other specifics which ensure fast and correct deliveries. Inventory accuracy is assured by seeing to it that proper items are picked.

Because of andon boards, lean manufacturing systems do not rely on white boards, clip boards and word of mouth and even emails and intranet as a communication tool. There is little room for error, therefore, and a reduction of “work in progress” or lag time between cycles.

Most andon boards have the ablity to project a number of 4” characters. Requests normally refer to x  number of lines and y number of characters. You can run for example 5 lines of 30 characters each which implies 4” characters.

Andon boards can also be used to display smaller characters as needed. 2.1” high characters are usually used for smaller areas with 100 ft. or less of viewing distance. Some adaptive andon boards can display different character sizes at once. are available in single-sided and double-sided veer

Windows applications can be installed inside andon board displays and all these will operate on the boards just like they run on PCs. Excel can be used to display charts and graphs live. Explorer can display internet or intranet sites as well.

Other HMI applications like GE Cimplicity, Wonderware, Visual Plant, Iconics or other SCADA applications can also be run on andon boards just like they are run on a desktop computer.

Andon boards have enhanced lean manufacturing tremendously. However, andon displays have, for a long time, been a basic but very expensive addition to lean manufacturing systems.

New technologies had to be developed to further enhance these communication tools and reduce more waste. Before, the data that andon boards display are usually fixed and restricted to single word headings such as “target” or “actual”, and data is lost once the display changes.

Now, Gemba Solutions have developed a new model, the OEE Impact Andon Board which provides flexible and displays which the user can configure via a PC. This can also be viewed on LCD or plasma screen.

The OEE Impact Andon Board creates another dimension for lean manufacturing as its software lets you know how you fare against targets in real-time by calculating TAKT times. A production plan for machines and lines can also automatically account planned breaks.

A profile of progress can also be views within a specific period of time or within work shifts. The OEE Impact Andon Board also can provide a historical summary report showing shift, daily, weekly performance vis-à-vis TAKT times, targets, rejects and down-times.

These new kinds of andon boards are very helpful in lean manufacturing as they let you know how well your production is going. In the event that results are less than what you want them to be, the OEE Impact Andon Board can also utilize a powerful software to find out where problem areas and bottlenecks are.

This helps lean manufacturers decide what to change in the process and later check on summary reports whether, in changing the process results have indeed improved. This shows that with the OEE Impact Andon Board, no data is ever lost.