What are principles of Lean manufacturing?

Any company that is thinking about implementing Lean manufacturing strategies will want to take some time to learn about the main principles behind this methodology. While most people simply associate Lean manufacturing with waste reduction, there are a number of underlying principles that make it possible to successfully eliminate waste from the workplace. The following are some of the different concepts used in Lean manufacturing.

Continuous Improvement

One of the most important principles behind Lean manufacturing is that of continuous improvement. This is critical because many companies will make changes to reduce waste, and then assume that they have accomplished their goal. Continuous improvement principles, however, will demand that the company continues to look at a process or area of the business and try to find additional waste that can be eliminated regularly. Unless there is absolutely no waste in a process, there are still things that can be done to benefit the facility.

Just-in-Time Production

One of the best ways to eliminate waste is by using the Just in Time production method. This is where parts and supplies are delivered where they are needed right at the moment that they are required (or as close to it as possible). In addition, it is when a facility will finish producing a specific product just as it becomes needed by the customer. This strategy will reduce the need for excess inventory or storing of products, which is a form of waste.

Levelized Production

The idea of levelized production is when a facility takes steps to ensure the work load is the same whenever they are open. If a company is operating 7 days a week, each day should be producing products at the same rate. If there isn’t enough demand for this, it will become necessary to shut down one day a week, or reduce hours in some other way. Continuous operation at peak performance is how to gain maximum efficiency.

Focused on Principles

By focusing on these, and other, principles of Lean manufacturing it is often possible to eliminate a large amount of waste from any company. This can occur with large changes to make big improvements, or multiple smaller changes over time. Either way, but keeping waste reduction in mind at all time, Lean manufacturing has a lot to offer to people throughout the industry.

 

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Additional Resources

Lean Manufacturing Guide
 
Lean Manufacturing Powerpoint
 
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