The specific processes used by a company that is following Lean Manufacturing techniques will vary based on their business model. All Lean Manufacturing companies, however, will need to follow the same basic concepts or processes. This will allow them to identify the waste, find ways to eliminate it, and then implement those improvements. The steps in this process are as follows:
One of the most important things that a company needs to do is identify the value they provide, from the customer’s perspective. Understanding exactly what the customer wants, and what they are willing to pay for, is invaluable knowledge for all Lean Manufacturing facilities. Without a clear understanding of what your customers want, you will be including a lot of wasted effort in your products.
Once you understand what the value is in your product, map out each step that is taken in the production process. Find out which steps are directly or indirectly adding value, and which ones are not. If any step is not providing value, see if it can be eliminated, or at least modified, so that it does add some type of value.
The production of all products should flow smoothly. This means having parts move from one stage to the next with minimal motion, ensuring all necessary information is passed along from the beginning to the end, and more.
Products should be ‘pulled’ through the production process rather than ‘pushed.’ This simply means that nothing is done by things upstream in the process until it is signaled that it is needed by the downstream customer. It is this demand that pulls products through the production process.
Work to Perfection
Throughout each of these steps, and anything else that takes place in the facility, a constant focus on perfection should be in place. The art of continuous improvement will help to reduce waste more and more over time, which will benefit the entire facility.
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