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Ever since Toyota introduced the production process known as lean manufacturing, it has revolutionized and redefined mass production practices all around the world.
The lean manufacturing system or lean for short is a system designed for maximizing product value to the customer while reducing activities that consume resources. It provides a powerful formula for doing more and working smarter with less.
How then can you make your manufacturing lean?
How can you decrease waste and increase productivity?
Can you increase the cost of inventory and increase profit margins?
If you find yourself asking all these questions, it’s a good thing. Companies all around the world are reporting major benefits by implementing the lean manufacturing system.
If you want a better understanding of how you can make your manufacturing efforts leaner, we will show what this system is and how it can transform your business into a powerhouse.
What Is The Lean Manufacturing System?
The lean manufacturing system is a system designed to minimize as much waste as possible, in doing so providing maximum product value without sacrificing productivity.
The Lean manufacturing system was first introduced by Toyota, in Japan from around 1948 to 1975. It strives to reduce waste within a manufacturing system to bring to light what adds more value and removing what doesn’t.
According to Industry Forum, Lean manufacturing emphasizes the optimization of separate organizational departments or technical systems in the business to the optimization of product flows across departments and customers. What this allows is manufacturers to focus on providing value on several connected processes instead of single development lines.
5 Lean Principles
- Value: It is the company’s responsibility to provide the most valuable products to the customer. As a result, value is determined by the customers and not the business.
- Value Stream: The second principle is a value stream. It states that the value you intend to provide your customers should clearly show the steps and processes required to manufacture that product.
- Flow: The third principle is flow. It explains how after you have successfully eliminated waste from the system, you should ensure that the production process flows smoothly without any interruptions.
- Pull: It emphasizes the point that products should be built or produced just in time so that no delays are experienced and materials stockpiled. Customers should receive their products promptly.
- Perfection: The fifth principle is perfection. It outlines the importance of incorporating lean thinking into your company. Employees play an active role too in making the company lean.
How To Make Your Manufacturing Lean
Before anything else, you will need to develop a solid plan and attainable goals. You have to look at every process from the customer’s perspective. Are you providing value or whatever it is you’re producing, is someone willing to pay for that product/service?
The next step would be to mirror other successful companies implementing lean. There are many organizations out there that are willing to show you their lean strategy. You need to absorb as much information as you can, take notes, ask a lot of questions and then start implementing some of their strategies.
Part of the lean process is encouraging fresh perspectives. There’s no one correct answer. Consider the input of your team, try different approaches.
Experience is the best teacher. Go ahead and start making your manufacturing lean!