MEM Industrial and Lean Manufacturing in Mexico

By Gregorio Aspeitia, Stiles Machinery Regional Sales Manager

Many companies in Mexico, including those in the woodworking and furniture industries, have opted for lean manufacturing in a bid to become more competitive. The concept, which is focused on reducing waste and improving the efficiency of production processes, has been around for some time now.

Lean manufacturing is a straightforward way of making production processes more efficient and adding value to each activity in the chain by eliminating non-essential operations, while showing respect for the worker.

Inspired by the principles of Doctor William Deming (the father of statistical control and the concept of total quality), lean manufacturing originated in Japan of the Fifties as the Toyota Production System. The American automotive industry later adopted the system so as to remain competitive, but changed its name to lean manufacturing. Today, 100% of carmakers employ the system in one form or another, although it can be applied to virtually any industry.

The ability to adapt to change, the elimination of waste, respect for the worker and constant improvements in productivity and quality are the main tenets of lean manufacturing. In the specific case of the Mexican woodworking industry, industrialists, directors and company owners have already begun to adopt the concept with a view to improving their productivity, competitiveness and export capacity.

In the woodworking industry, for example, lean manufacturing is associated with sustainability, because it introduces process improvements that eliminate waste, and prevent overproduction, excess inventories and reprocessing.

In lean manufacturing, the transition to 3D printing has been a natural one, since it facilitates the creation of prototypes, while improved efficiency helps reduce delivery times. Other benefits include improved consistency and the capacity to produce bespoke products more cheaply. And if the product is produced locally, the manufacturer can also cut down on transportation costs and is less likely to have to contend with delivery delays.

Companies will have a chance to see the cutting-edge machinery used in lean manufacturing processes and its Industry 4.0 applications at MEM Industrial 2020 ( ), the country’s leading woodworking and furniture tradeshow, which will take place on January 22-24 at Centro Citibanamex in Mexico City. Here, visitors can also learn more about the latest lean manufacturing trends in the industry at the free cycle of conferences given by national and international experts.