Lean Manufacturing is a method also known as Lean Thinking, Lean Production, Lean Management or Toyota Production System. The results through its practices make it one of the most successful and revolutionary production systems in history.
Lean Manufacturing is a method that seeks and eliminates activities that have costs and do not add value. Its central ideology is the idea that “we can do better everything”. Because of this, companies can identify opportunities to improve any process.
Lean Manufacturing is a realistic approach that a midsize producer can use to solve their cash flow challenges. The scale of auto assembly plants can overwhelm many manufacturers and perceive it as a restrictive work environment that has nothing to do with their business.
However, Lean Manufacturing is a basic common sense concept all manufacturing companies can use that, regardless of their small size.
Many companies have embraced Lean thinking as a path to success in today’s global economy to gain a competitive advantage. This approach has made it possible for companies to increase efficiency, minimize costs, improve quality, and increase profits through five basic principles.
The first principle, which defines value, is also the first step on the path to becoming Lean. This step requires companies to know what their customers value and how their products or services meet those expectations.
Consumers often cannot understand or express what they want. By implementing them different strategies can help you understand what they really want. These strategies can be interviews, surveys, demographics, and web analytics.
By using these qualitative and quantitative methods, we will know what customers want, how they want it, how they want to receive it, and how much they will pay.
The second principle is to identify and map the value stream. In this step, the goal is to use customer value as a benchmark and identify all activities that contribute to these values. While activities that do not add value to the end customer are considered waste.
We can divide the waste into two categories:
By reducing and eliminating unnecessary processes, we ensure that customers get what they want and reduce the cost of producing that product or service.
Effective production flow enables products to be transported continuously from manufacturing to shipment and can be achieved by organizing the workplace strategically.
To ensure that products go smoothly through the manufacturing chain, we must consider every aspect, be it personnel, equipment, materials, and shipping. A well-organized production floor, inventory, and materials handling can minimize production time.
Inventory is one of the biggest waste in any manufacturing system. The purpose of a pull-by-pull system is to restrict inventory and process products while ensuring that materials and information are available for smooth operation.
An extraction-based system enables just-in-time production and distribution where products are manufactured in the time and quantities required. Extraction-based systems are often designed around end-user requirements.
We can ensure that manufactured products can meet consumer needs by following the flow of value and working backward through the manufacturing system.
The last principle of Lean Manufacturing demands that companies strive for excellence. Although it may seem easy to achieve excellence, it is also one of the most difficult concepts to execute effectively on the job. To achieve perfection, companies must constantly improve their processes and also require a culture change in the workplace.
Kaizen will help companies transform by developing a culture in which employees seek excellence. This principle is a continuous improvement. Kaizen focuses on small, radical improvements and needs all staff to strengthen business processes, from the corner office to the manufacturing floor.