What are the Best Andon Stack Lights for Lean Manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing is based on a simple rule of thumb: continuously work to eliminate waste from the manufacturing process. According to research conducted by the Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC), 60 percent of the production activities in a typical manufacturing operation are waste. In other words, much of the work done in making products does not add value for the customer. In an effort to be leaner and combat waste, many manufacturers have implemented Andon systems. Aptly named from the Japanese word for “lantern,” Andon systems provide visibility into the manufacturing process by visually communicating a change in status to people on the shop floor. In this blog post, we will discuss different options in Andon stack lights so you can decide what’s right for your facility.


PROS: Easy-to-use button and tower lights at a station allow workers on the floor to push a button to alert the team of a change in status. These lights are easy to see from a distance. In a noisy environment, this kind of light is handy when other signals might not be noticed. They allow the team on the floor to react immediately and keep the production moving. 

CONS: The downside is that every person you need to run your manufacturing facility must be on the floor to know what is going on in real time. This is especially difficult for management and inspectors who may be spending time at one station in another area of the facility when another more remote station is practically afire. If no one comes when a worker triggers a status requiring an inspector or supervisor, line workers may stop using the lights. 


PROS: With all the advantages of manually triggered stack lights, automatic lights are often triggered by the production equipment itself. This is handy for maintenance tasks because the machine can alert the line just in time of needed maintenance.

CONS: Similar to manually triggered Andon stack lights, it’s incumbent upon all necessary staff to be on the floor, so that they can respond in a timely manner. Automatically triggered Andon stack lights can easily become background noise if human operators find the statuses unreliable or unnecessary.


You get the best of both worlds with an easy-to-use solution that offers both digital and physical Andon Stack Lights as well as a SaaS platform that allows you to monitor statuses from any internet-enabled device. So you can be anywhere, anytime and know what is going on at every station. Plus, the platform adds the power of production pace timers, dispatch queues, and messaging to get everyone everything they need at the right time, thereby boosting workers’ productivity. 

We hope you have gleaned some helpful information from this post. If you are looking for Andon stack lights, consider our platform solution that works with your other technology and gives you real-time actionable insights into your lines. Find out more on our platform page and get a free trial to see how it works.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *