Lean manufacturing

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Lean manufacturing
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Lean manufacturing is a production management system in the company, which aims to reduce waste and eliminate unnecessary operations and procedures in the production process, while providing products and services of the highest quality expected by customers and maintaining low production costs, low usage of raw materials, etc. The philosophy behind Lean manufacturing is derived from the Toyota production system.

Implementation of Lean manufacturing in the company significantly increases its production efficiency, shortening the duration of this process and contributing to the elimination of surplus stocks. Main step of implementation is diagnosis and removal of all the factors causing the loss, and then improvement of key production processes. To minimize the losses managers should significantly reduce waste. It is necessary to involve all employees during implementation of lean manufacturing. Effective improvement of processes causing waste and optimization of production requires involvement of employees at all hierarchy levels in the company.

Lean thinking

It is important to state, that Lean manufacturing is aimed at increase of company profits. It is the most common misunderstanding about Lean. The Lean impacts organizational culture and changes attitude of workers and managers, however the bottom line is: it has to pay off. Other approach was presented in Toyota production system which was aimed mainly on engineering issues. That can be the source of misunderstanding.

The five principles of lean thinking

  • Value should be determined from the perspective of the end user.
  • Managers should specify the value stream for each product category.
  • Next steps of adding value must be combined to achieve a smooth flow of production.
  • Customers should be able to obtain what they want.
  • Management must be targeted to achieve perfection - all the action and the means must create value.

If managers specify value from the end-user perspective, it turns out that only a small part of the activities and time contribute to the creation of value

Lean process

Improvement of the processes requires:

Value stream mapping

Value stream mapping is a method used to analyse the production system. It shows the value stream, i.e. the identification of all operations (adding value, as well as those that do not add values) taken in the process of product manufacturing, starting from process of acquiring material and ending with the finished product. See separate article Value stream mapping.

Ideas based on lean

The Lean concept is now widespread. There are several ideas using it, e.g.:

Lean manufacturing tools

The 12 pillars of Lean manufacturing are: