Lean manufacturing is one of the most popular and most effective ways to organize workflow, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency in the workplace. If you operate a manufacturing company that is looking for ways to improve and become more competitive, the Lean standards are a proven option that should absolutely be considered. Even if you already use some Lean techniques, a company can always make further improvements to gain additional positive results.
History of Lean Manufacturing
Lean manufacturing can trace the general concepts back hundreds of years, and in reality, many of the concepts have been used by man as long as we have been around. The formal Lean manufacturing processes that are in use today, however, really got started with Henry Ford and the assembly line for his vehicles. That was then taken to the next level and further formalized by the Toyota Motor Company using their ‘Toyota Production System.’
Using the ‘just in time’ production method allowed their manufacturing systems to not only produce a greater number of vehicles, but also produce them with far less waste. This helped to boost the profitability of the company while also increasing the customer satisfaction since they were getting more of what they wanted.
While most people think of Lean manufacturing strictly as a way to cut out waste, the real core is focused on the concept of continuous improvement. Of course, much of the improvement that is going to be done is in the area of waste elimination, so the two concepts go hand in hand. By having a company dedicated to continuous improvement, however, it is possible to identify problem areas and then put in the work necessary to eliminate them.
When first implementing Lean manufacturing there will likely be a lot of major improvement opportunities that can be tackled. Over time, it often becomes necessary to start focusing on the much smaller issues. By getting rid of lots of small waste areas, a company will be able to operate far more efficiently, which produces constant savings year after year.
Just as the Lean manufacturing process requires continuous improvement, those that are looking to implement it will want to adopt a standard of continuous learning. There are many Lean tools and systems that can be taken advantage of to make progress in any facility. Committing yourself to reading and understanding how things should operate will provide endless benefits now and in the future.
Lean Manufacturing Questions and Answers
- Are people or processes more important in Lean manufacturing?
- How can I implement Lean manufacturing?
- How can Lean manufacturing help a company?
- How do I calculate Takt Time?
- How do I create a balanced scorecard?
- How do I create a value stream map?
- How do I process map?
- How does Lean manufacturing eliminate waste?
- How does someone become certified in Lean manufacturing (Six Sigma)?
- How is Lean different from Six Sigma?
- How is OEE calculated?
- Is Kaizen an alternative for Lean Six Sigma?
- Is mass production considered Lean?
- What are Lean manufacturing tools?
- What are Lean terms?
- What are bottlenecks and how can I fix them?
- What are fishbone diagrams?
- What are principles of Lean manufacturing?
- What are the 5 Whys?
- What are the 7 (or 8) wastes of Lean manufacturing?
- What do the letters in the acronym DOWNTIME refer to in Lean Methodology?
- What does KPI stand for?
- What does TPS stand for?
- What does WIP stand for?
- What is 8D?
- What is Heijunka?
- What is JIT?
- What is Lean management?
- What is Lean manufacturing?
- What is Muda?
- What is PMBOK?
- What is Parkinson's law?
- What is Takt Time?
- What is a GANTT chart?
- What is a balanced scorecard?
- What is a perpetual inventory system?
- What is a value stream?
- What is cross docking?
- What is just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing?
- What is lead time?
- What is needed in a Lean 5S toolkit?
- What is poka yoke?
- What is process mapping?
- What is the Lean manufacturing process?
- What is the Lean methodology?
- What is the SCAMPER method?
- What is the goal of Lean?
- What is value stream mapping?
- When was Lean manufacturing invented?
- Where do I start with Lean manufacturing?
- Which automobile company initialized Lean manufacturing?
- Who should be involved in Lean manufacturing?
- Why is Lean manufacturing called Lean?