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5 Key Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is a production viewpoint that considers the outlay of resources for any target other than the creation of value for the customer to be wasteful. Essentially, lean manufacturing means removing inefficiencies in the production process: unnecessary work, unevenness in production, maintenance issues and so on. By removing/reducing these non-value-adding processes, companies can focus more resources on value adding process and to spend more time on improving operational performance.

Lean manufacturing is mostly understood from the examples Henry Ford applied to the manufacturing sector. He applied Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing for car production that focused on reducing the carrying costs of inventory by eliminating as much inventory as possible.  The modern principles of lean manufacturing are derived from the Toyota Production Systems.  Toyota’s philosophy focuses on eliminating three types of inefficiency: non-value-adding work, overburdening of workers and unevenness in productivity. In other industries Lean methodology can be applied to identify sources of waste and eliminate them by establishing clear best practices.


The 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

1 – Specify value from customer perspective and by product family.

2 – Identify all the steps in the value stream and eliminate any wastes that do not create value.

3 – Stream lining the value-creating steps to occur in tight sequence that flow towards the customer or next up stream process.

4 – Let customers pull from the next upstream process.

5 – Repeat for ongoing system improvements.

Where to start

Toyota is have become the most successful lean manufacturer, but every industry type can benefit from a lean philosophy.  With lean philosophy, any company can eliminate waste and improve its bottom line, such as Engineers can reduce that complexity of assembly task; Scientists can reduced wasted time running test, Accountants can speed up end of month reports and even management can improve governance and compliance procedures.

How do I get started?

Start with learning how to specify value from the customer perspective – learn about value stream mapping.

What is the most common mistake in implementing lean?

Using lean as a magic solution for rapid cost-cutting.

Where to I start?

Talk with lean expert to help you develop the framework for starting, as this will depend on your situation and the size of your company.