Lean Manufacturing: What is it?

Lean Manufacturing is becoming increasingly successful, and corporations have known this for years. Organizations from various sectors have embraced its basic idea for fostering a culture of continuous improvement for corporate growth. The Lean manufacturing approach has been producing observable outcomes with its methods and tools to decrease waste and improve quality.

This helpful manual explains the fundamentals of lean manufacturing, its history, its objectives and potential advantages, as well as how to put it into reality.

Lean manufacturing: What Is It?

The goal of the production technique known as lean manufacturing is to speed up both production and supplier and customer response times.The method strives to boost productivity by reducing waste, streamlining procedures, and lowering expenses. By just creating what is needed and avoiding overstocking, the approach enables the reduction of waste and inventory expenses. The strategy enhances productivity and aids in raising profitability by shortening the production time.

What Is the Lean Manufacturing History?

In the late 1940s, Toyota created its operational model, the Toyota manufacturing System (TPS), which is also known as lean manufacturing or just-in-time production (JIT). John Krafcik later popularized the term "lean" in 1988.

James Womack and Daniel Jones are credited with defining the five principles of lean manufacturing, which include value specification, value stream mapping, value flow creation, constructing a pull system, and chasing perfection, in 1996. The core of Lean philosophy and Lean thinking are the ideas that make up a production cycle.

The management approach, which has its roots in manufacturing, is now successfully used in a variety of businesses and fields.

The Toyota Production System (TPS): What Is It?

Early in the 20th century, a management method for coordinating manufacturing and logistical activities called the Toyota Production method (TPS) or "The Toyota Way" was developed in Japan. The just-in-time production (JIT) system, developed by Japanese industrial engineer and businessman Mr. Taiichi Ohno, serves as the foundation of TPS.

Respect for people and continual development are the two Lean pillars of the Toyota Way. They lay the groundwork for comprehending what lean manufacturing is all about and where its guiding principles come from.

To eliminate all superfluous actions from the processes is the primary goal of just-in-time manufacturing as a component of TPS. The technique seeks to accomplish continuous improvement by lowering and eliminating non-value-adding activities (wastes) from production. Applying the JIT approach, for instance, would entail searching for ways to speed up changeover times and getting rid of job classifications if you work in an environment with several job classifications and high changeover periods. By doing this, you are enabling the individuals to use their full potential rather than repeatedly repeating the same activity while also giving them more flexibility.

What Are the Lean Manufacturing Fundamentals?

It is essential to comprehend the five guiding principles of lean management if you want to implement it effectively. They consist of:

  • Value identification: Describe the precise value that the client seeks.
  • Create a value stream map: Find the value stream cycle for each good or service that your clients value, and get rid of the ones that don't.
  • Create flow: Once the phases that add value have been identified, try to generate a continuous flow of value across your process.
  • Construct a pull system: Instead of forcing labor on people, let them pull it themselves.
  • Strive for excellence: Reduce the time and steps needed to provide value to your consumers by constantly improving.

The five principles of Lean management 

Lean manufacturing is fundamentally the production method used to shorten delivery and customer service response times. It accomplishes this by removing all ineffective processes.

How Can Lean Manufacturing Be Implemented in Three Steps?

For effective implementation, there are a few measures that must be taken. You are prepared to begin applying Lean through the use of methods like value stream mapping and developing a pull-based production system.

1. Create a value stream process flow chart.

The Lean method of visualizing all necessary phases in a work process for providing value to the customer is called value stream mapping. You can use this strategy to visually illustrate each step and task in your workflow. By doing so, through value stream mapping you can easily identify and eliminate wasteful steps and activities and redesign your process to achieve a healthy flow of work.

2. Create a system of demand-based work

One of the Lean manufacturing principles intended to assist in reducing waste from the production processes is the establishment of a pull system. The phrase describes agreeing to work only when it is actually needed.Pull enables you to make the most of your resources, decrease overstocking, and expedite delivery.  

3. Strive for Constant Improvement

The Lean culture places a strong emphasis on continuous improvement. A key component of what lean manufacturing teaches is the dedication to constantly seeking out more effective ways to do tasks. Through ongoing analysis of the way work is processed, all organizational efforts are concentrated on boosting customer happiness, eliminating waste, and optimizing work processes.Among other advantages, continuous improvement enables you to enhance the quality and efficiency of work while streamlining workflows and cutting down on waste like faults.

What Purpose Does Lean Manufacturing Serve?

Efficiency is one of the main goals of the Lean manufacturing methodology, and it is attained through ongoing process analysis and improvement. Lean has four different objectives to do this.

  • To raise the standard of value delivered (goods or services).
  • Tto speed up customer request responses and delivery times.
  • To streamline operations by getting rid of unnecessary activities that provide little value.
  • To lower expenses by satisfying client requests with the fewest possible resources,.
Robotic techs

What Benefits Does Lean Manufacturing Offer?

Analyzing the benefits of the production technique is essential before implementing Lean manufacturing in your company to ensure that your expectations are realistic. The technique has demonstrated its capacity to bring along its evolutionary path:

  • Improved quality performance 
  • Streamlined processes  
  • Increased productivity 
  • Increased employee satisfaction and morale 
  • Increased profits 
  • Reduced production and response time 
  • Eliminate waste 

What Drawbacks Exist for Lean Manufacturing?

Examining the drawbacks of Lean manufacturing may dispel any remaining uncertainty over whether the strategy would be appropriate for your needs after the benefits are established. The following are some of the most frequent problems of lean:

  • Equipment failure 
  • Supplier issues 
  • Lack of acceptance by employees 
  • High implementation cost 

What Kinds of Waste Occur in Lean Manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing actually entails eliminating waste on a large scale. Eliminating, shrinking, and streamlining work processes are all part of applying the Lean principles. Lean waste comes in seven different categories, all of which should be removed from the workflow through ongoing development.

1. Overproduction 

In lean manufacturing, overproduction is a sort of waste that describes producing or generating work in excess of what is required, which results in further expenses for transportation, resources, waiting times, rework, etc.

2. Inventory 

An excessive overstocking of commodities or resources to accommodate unforeseen consumer requests is related to the inventory kind of waste. However, this inventory typically has little added value for customers and instead results in higher storage expenses.

3. Motion  

The term "motion waste" refers to any pointless movement of personnel or machinery that slows down production, compromises workplace security, or disorganizes a workspace. This can involve shifting, lifting, stooping, etc.

4. Defects 

Any good or service that needs to be fixed or scrapped entirely is referred to as a defect and is a sort of waste in lean manufacturing. There are no defects that do not increase costs or deprive clients of further value.

5. Over-processing 

All extra effort that is not required by the client and results in resource and cost overages is referred to as waste. The ultimate effect is a higher final price that the consumer might not be willing to pay. This might be a new product feature or more steps being added to a workflow process.

6. Waiting 

In lean manufacturing, waiting is a sort of waste that refers to any service that is not in action, such as waiting for supplies or suppliers, equipment that is waiting to be mended, or individuals who are awaiting approval.

7. Transport 

In lean manufacturing, "transport waste" refers to any unnecessary transfer of resources or materials that costs money, compromises quality, and adds no value to the final product.

Applications of Lean Manufacturing in Different Sectors

The production approach was initially developed as a strategy to decrease waste and speed up output in the manufacturing industry. It is now successfully used in many different fields:

  • Healthcare 
  • Software development 
  • Project management 
  • Construction 
  • Banking 
  • Education 

What Lean Manufacturing Tools Work Best?

To accomplish the objectives you set out to accomplish, lean manufacturing provides the use of numerous tools and strategies. The best Lean manufacturing tools may vary based on your company's setting. Here are a few of the most well-liked, practical, and frequently used tools:

  • Kanban is a workflow management technique that aims to provide work in the best possible way across teams and organizational levels.
  • Kaizen (the philosophy of continuous improvement)
  • Value Stream Mapping is a Lean management technique for illustrating, evaluating, and enhancing all phases of the delivery process.
  • The 5S method (a Lean technique for maximizing process efficiency in a workplace)
  • Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) is an iterative problem-solving technique that enables continuous process and product improvement.
  • Heijunka (A Lean approach for maximizing output)
  • Poke-Yoke (a system for identifying errors and faults)
  • A Lean technique called Jidoka (which ensures built-in quality)
  • Andon (A production system errors alert system)

Examples of Lean Manufacturing

Despite having its roots in the automobile sector, lean production principles are now widely used outside of the manufacturing sector. In today's world, the application of the lean manufacturing idea can take many different shapes. Here are a few illustrations:

  • Manufacturing of trucks: Increasing output and productivity.
  • Customer service: Value stream mapping helps streamline the work process.
  • Process automation: Increasing flow tracking and transparency.
  • Improved learning and knowledge sharing through innovation culture.

Lean vs. Six Sigma

Lean and Six Sigma are different from one another in how they go about achieving their objectives. Lean focuses on reducing waste and achieving improvement, but Six Sigma aims to find and fix root causes by utilizing more statistical and graphical techniques.

Despite this, both approaches aim to enhance production processes via early defect detection, waste elimination, and highest quality delivery. Together, they make up the data-driven methodology known as Lean Six Sigma, which successfully complements each other in determining the underlying causes of problems.

In Summary

The Lean manufacturing production approach aims to speed up both supplier and customer response times as well as production time.The approach is based on five fundamental ideas.

  • Identify value. 
  • Map the value stream. 
  • Create flow. 
  • Establish a pull system. 
  • Pursue perfection.
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