What is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean Methodology is a manufacturing method, that helps to reduce waste in any product manufacturing process without affecting productivity. It focuses on eliminating the non-value products in a process and at the same time, maximizing productivity. Lean manufacturing is a process that tends to individually improve the quality of a process and continuously finding better ways to minimize waste.
No matter how perfect a system is, there is always a space for betterment. Lean manufacturing plays an important role in filling up that space for its users. According to Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC), almost 50-60% of all the activities involved in production are either directly or indirectly aiding to waste yielding. This waste is however of no value for the manufacturer or the buyer. Thus, there is a huge capacity to improve the quality of product and system efficiency using lean manufacturing tools and techniques.
Get excited for these lean manufacturing techniques that enable the manufacturer to deliver higher quality products at significantly lower costs and at the same time increasing the profitability of your manufacturing operations.
Lean Manufacturing Definition
Create more value and less waste, this is the easiest thing to define a lean method. Say Bye to the traditional manufacturing methods and hello to innovative methods, lean manufacturing gives a thousand better reasons to replace traditional manufacturing.
It is defined as methodologies, that help to eliminate non-value products from any process but maximize the efficiency of the process. These non-value products are named as waste products from the manufacturing, those products, the buyer never pays for. Eliminating these products means increasing the efficiency of a process.
Lean manufacturing is a set of strategies, that helps in the betterment of product manufacturing by defining ways for the continuous elimination of wastes and the addition of values to any process. The main idea of lean manufacturing is simply working on eliminating waste from the manufacturing process. Lean manufacturing is continuous improvement, it includes strategies that help improve the process and product while eliminating inefficient activities.
The main goal of Lean Manufacturing is to train and the employees individually so that they can self-analyze the non-value products in their work and continuously strategize on improving them. This not only optimizes the productivity of the system but also induces confidence, and better coordination in employees.
Lean Manufacturing principles
Continuous improvement and giving individually respect and confidence to all the employees are the secret behind the success of the Lean manufacturing system. The Lean principles provide a structure for achieving an efficient and effective system. Lean manufacturing allows its employees to discover inefficiencies in their work and deliver better value to customers. These principles help to create better flow in work processes and developing a continuously improved environment.
By practicing all 5 principles, any business can remain competitive, better the value delivered to the customers, cut the cost of their products, and increase their profitability.
Toyota Production System (TPS) focused on following five core principles of Lean Thinking to ensure a waste-free system.
These are listed as
- Defining Value
- Map the value stream
- Generate flow
- Establish Pull
- Pursue Perfection
The first principle of lean manufacturing is specifying the value, the value in a process always defines the customer’s needs for a specific product. The value of any process depends on the needs of a customer; the following questions describe the basic values in a process.
- What are the client’s requirements?
- Why and when the client needs it?
- How is our product fulfilling their needs?
- When we can deliver their product to them?
Everything except the client’s needs is considered to be a waste during the process of manufacturing. But these are categorized according to their execution in the process. They include value-adding products, non-value-adding but necessary products and unnecessary non value-adding products.
Map the Value Stream
Mapping the value stream allows you to have you a controlled overview of your business manufacturing processes. This helps you analyze the process or workflow, marking the wastes and inefficiencies. It creates a flow of information giving ideas from the current state and planning future state for the series of events until delivery of the product to the customer. This map helps you analyze the delays, restrains, and excess inventory the effects of the manufacturing process. You need to have an idea of what things you want to include in your map. If you are planning to add all the miniatures, things will definitely get complex and you have to draw separate maps for each point.
8 Forms of Waste
These forms of unnecessary products need to be identified and eliminated to optimize the process,
- Wait time.
Generating flow defines the movement of items in the manufacturing process from the time of order placement until the delivery. The goal of Lean flow is to make sure the delivery of products or items as quickly as possible through the process leaving the outcome unaffected.
Anything that doesn’t add value is considered as waste. The pull principle in lean focuses on reducing waste and producing only the products as required by the client. A pull-based system targets to limit inventory and WIP (Work in process) items while ensuring that the necessary materials and information are available for a smooth flow of work
Pursuing perfection demands continuous process improvement from the organizational culture. Every employee should work towards perfection while delivering products based on customer needs. The company should provide a learning environment to its employees and always find ways to get a little better each and every day.
Lean Manufacturing Tools & Techniques
The most important part of any project is to define its goals and then set the plan. Setting a baseline for subsequent steps of the project to follow and surveying the most important lean tools, can improve your manufacturing operations and help you understand lean better. Lean tools and techniques mainly aim to eliminate wastes from the system, that are pure wastes and are of no use at all.
Some of the most discussed lean manufacturing tools are listed below,
- Cellular Manufacturing
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Best Lean Manufacturing Books
Looking for more Lean manufacturing knowledge, examples, and perspectives? You’re in the right place. We have put up this list of top Lean manufacturing books to help you intensify your knowledge of Lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing concepts are not that simple in practice as in theory. You need to have a good understanding of all the lean concepts for pursuing this in their business. Even if you are an expert, we really encourage you to one of these up, this will surely help you deepen the understanding of lean manufacturing for you. Lean helps your company do better with less waste and make your customers happier. Here are what I consider to be the most foundational Lean manufacturing books.
Lean Production Simplified: A Plain-Language Guide to the World’s Most Powerful Production System
Whatever level of lean learner you are, give this book a try, this will provide you next-level information about lean manufacturing. This book defines and explains lean manufacturing at its best. Pascal Dennis, the author of the book has explained from his own experience at Toyota to help you understand the meaning behind their success, with the why’s and how’s explained clearly with illustrations and examples. The author helps you understand the system as a whole, as well as the factors that animate it.
I would definitely recommend this book, it will surely help your business understand the language of success. It can answer all your what’s and why’s related to lean manufacturing. The simplified chapters of the book make lean manufacturing actually simplified for you. Illustrated in easy vocabulary, this book highlights all the basic elements and philosophies behind lean manufacturing and lean tools and also illustrates the implementation of these tools with examples. You can get this book from Amazon.
The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer
General explanations covering all the management principles behind Toyota’s global success are the main targets considered in this book.
This book defines the following approaches that help any industrialist to enhance their business,
- Never compromise quality
- Discover inexpensive substitutes to high cost technology
- Eliminate unnecessary products
- Produce less but produce the best
If you want continuous improvement in your business, this book is a big recommendation from me. This book will help you understand the operations adopted by Toyota to achieve that much success. Give this book a read and make your way to success. You can download this book from Amazon.
The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Tool book: A Quick Reference Guide to 100 Tools for Improving Quality and Speed
This book provides you expert advice on which tool is better for which purpose. Defines the tools with detailed examples and step by step instructions, helping anyone from HR to CEO understand almost all the tools and techniques.
The Lean Six Sigma Pocket Tool book, provides you an amazing amalgam of lean and six sigma tools and concepts. It provides you the best way to understand all the tools and how and where to use those all.
If you want insights into lean manufacturing and six sigma tools, this book should not be missed. It will explain everything in the light of detailed examples. You can Buy It On Amazon for $14.77 – $16.02.
LEAN: Ultimate Collection – Lean Startup, Lean Analytics, Lean Enterprise, Kaizen, Six Sigma, Agile Project Management, Kanban, Scrum
Your easy access to all lean startup rules, its analysis, kaizen method, six sigma tools, value stream mapping, agile values, and principles, who can use agile, Kanban process management and uses, Scrum, planning principles of Scrum, and benefits of using Scrum. Hence this is a complete package from startup to the execution of your business. You can buy this book on Amazon.
How to Implement Lean Manufacturing?
This practical reference book describes comprehensively Toyota Production System (TPS) and the distinct order in which Lean techniques should be applied to achieve the best results in increasing profitability.
I will definitely suggest you give this a read if you want to learn the implementation of lean rules, lean manufacturing may be easy in theories but not that easy to practically implement. You need to get knowledge and expert advice for the perfect achievement of these methods. For that purpose, this book is heaven for Lean learners. You can download this book from Amazon.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
Eric Ries defines a way to adapt and adjust to successful business tricks before it’s too late. He provides a scientific approach to create and manage successful startups with innovation and planning changing minute to minute depending on the need of time.
The author of the book has proved his knowledge and deep practical experience in the discipline of lean manufacturing. Followed by real-life common examples, this book helps every startup or even corporate entrepreneurs to absorb effectively the basic and even the tips and tricks of lean-to enhance their business in a professional way. You can get this book on Amazon from here.
The Six Sigma Handbook
Your complete guide to green belts, black belts, and management. It describes you all Lean Six Sigma techniques to dramatically improve processes, profitability, sustainability, and long-term growth of your business.
The most simplified and easy to understand reference book to comprehend the rules of Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. It covers the concepts of maximizing resources in the same budget, data driven management, and how to accurately implement them in your process.
Essential learning for all the newbies and even the experts. You can get this book on Amazon.
Lean manufacturing is proven to offer unbeatable business production and implementation planning. Planning to start implementing lean manufacturing? No matter your current level, these books are surely going to help you in the best they can.
I hope this article was helpful for you to understand the basics of lean manufacturing.
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