Lean Manufacturing is “a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. Working from the perspective of the customer who consumes a product or service, “value” is defined as any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.” (according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Lean_manufacturing).

Instead of placing focus on the separate management of assets, lean manufacturing manages the product value stream – from input/raw materials all the way to the consumer of the output, the end customer. In doing so it tries to eliminate waste, by breaking down the flow of operations into flow cells which are linked in a continuous manner. If carried out correctly, it will result in on-time delivery of products which are defect free. Inventory will be reduced significantly and the usage of resources like machines, people, real estate, and time will be more efficient.

Lean Production is based on a Couple of Principles

Lean Manufacturing• Customers are enabled to pull whatever they need.
• Every asset and every action should create value, which allows the manufacturing facility to manage towards perfection.
• Value cannot be defined based on internal views; it should always be done from the standpoint of the end customer.
• Every step in the production process should create value to the end product. This will allow the product to flow.
• For every cluster of products (the product family) the value stream needs to be identified.

Lean Manufacturing – How It Started

Despite the fact that the terminology Lean Manufacturing and lean production only have been in circulation ever since the ‘The Machine that Changed the World’ was published back in 1990, the actual principles and techniques possess a considerably longer background. Certainly, the primary concept of lining manufacturing stages in process sequence is generally tracked back to Colt´s arsenal in Hartford, Connecticut around 1885. Precisely what Henry Ford eventually referred to as ‘flow production’ achieved its summit at the factory in Highland Park around 1915, specifically where each and every unit producing components and each stage in the direction of putting them together ended up being arranged in single piece flow, in order that it merely required a few hours from raw materials to finished goods, the end product.

This method was not able to provide clients sufficient variety. The setup and the processes needed reengineering. Therefore the moment Ford established his following facility at River Rouge around 1931, it had been structured rather in a different way. Large equipment capable of making large amounts of various components had been arranged together in individual sections, increasing efficiency through making certain} there was constantly work waiting around to be performed. Groups of goods wandered from unit to unit and at instances extended from a number of hours to a few months. Lengthy lead times required forecasting and selling from a few months’ inventory of completed automobiles in dealerships. As a result the concept of ‘mass production’ came to be and developed into the prominent method provided that manufacturers were able to sell anything they produced.


Just In TimeOn the other side of the world in the 1930s Sakichi Toyoda and his son Kiichiro, the founders of Toyota, had been concentrating on their particular model of flow production. These people developed the 2 pillars of what afterwards was crowned TPS, which is an abbreviation for Toyota Production System: automatic equipment as well as line halting each time a fault is made to ensure that absolutely no bad components passes through the system ahead to disrupt the downstream movement (a method these people referred to as Jidoka), along with a pull technique through which solely components which are really needed are manufactured (known as JIT or Just in Time). At a later date the 3rd pillar, concerning progressing the amount of work in a blended version production circulation, was included (referred to as Heijunka).

Just In Time (JIT) Manufacturing

For most manufacturing companies their production systems are quite rigid and tend to lack flexibility. The traditional method of production is the batch method. However, current demand from the market is not static; it varies and so should the production capability.

Batch production has a couple of drawbacks. The main ones being:

• Due to its nature, any changes required to the design will take a lot of time. In other words, this production method as less flexibility. Consequently, leadtimes tend to be long, especially if batches are small or if the requirements deviate from the standard production process.
• Producing goods in batches generally tends to lead to large inventory. This creates a couple of issues, such as cash flow (as the money is locked up in the inventory), and quality control which will be very difficult to do. In addition to that, products can deteriorate in quality over time. With large batches products are in inherently stored for longer times.

With Just in Time (JIT) production the above issues are overcome. This production system is the opposite of batch production and quite revolutionary. It delivers the required products to the customer just in time, can handle diversified requests of demand from a wide range of customers, while being able to produce the products in the shortest leadtime possible.

Control of quality is also not an issue as inventory is being kept small, to basically nonexistent. Product inspection is done immediately during the production. Any faulty products are identified during the process instead of at the end. Before moving on to the next level in the production stage, the faulty product can be removed ensuring high quality levels of the end product.

TPM to lead TQM

Lean Manufacturing BooksIt was Taiichi Ohno who was the production chief with Toyota (the same company that also invented TPM or ‘Total Productive Maintenance’, which later led to TQM or Total Quality Management) who implemented these principles after the Second World War. Ohno was motivated to get over every one of the hurdles to making a product range in minimal quantities, utilizing straightforward machines organized in process sequence. His particular 20 year test got going in the motor facility prior to advancing to body welding, pressing, and assemblage. Not until Ohno required to stretch out the particular TPS towards the supply base around the early 1970s did it end up being penned down the very first time, even though it took an additional 10 years prior to being printed in magazines, articles and books.

Toyota’s continuous and ongoing climb in becoming the 3rd biggest car manufacturer worldwide brought other companies to attempt to go along with its example. This method could basically only be carried out by comprehending the concepts powering TPS and after that choosing the proper instruments in the correct pattern. Lean Manufacturing is considered the common model of TPS and lean thinking explains the particular concepts powering not merely TPS yet the entire Toyota business system, which includes customer management, supplier co-ordination, and product or service development.

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