The main reason companies look to implement Lean manufacturing strategies is to help them eliminate waste. Cutting out waste will reduce their expenses and maximize profits so that they can be more competitive, and therefore more successful. Understanding how this methodology can eliminate waste will help to determine the benefits that a given workplace will enjoy.
Types of Waste
One of the first ways that Lean manufacturing can help to eliminate waste is by placing waste into different categories. Each type of waste is traditional broken down into either defects, excess processing, overproduction, waiting, inventory, moving, motion, and non-utilized talent. When looking at the workplace, keeping these various types of waste in mind can help you to spot improvement opportunities so that problems can be solved, and waste eliminated.
The Lean manufacturing methodology isn’t a one-time event that will fix all the problems in the facility so that there is no more waste. This set of strategies understands that all workplaces are going to always have waste present. The goal, however, is to bring that to an absolute minimum over time. Finding specific examples of waste, then discovering the root cause of that waste, and finally eliminating the waste is something that needs to be done over and over again to get the best results. This continuous improvement method will not only eliminate waste up front, but will also help ensure the facility remains as efficient as possible long into the future.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when looking at how Lean manufacturing will eliminate waste is that it helps to identify true value. To put it simply, Lean manufacturing starts by looking at what creates value in a product, then anything else that is present is considered waste. Lean uses value stream mapping to find where the value is added so it is easier to eliminate everything else.
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