Lean Manufacturing Significant Benefits, Lean Theory, Principles and Total Quality
Lean Manufacturing Significant Benefits
Dramatic cost reduction to improve your cash flow
- Substantial savings through targeted cost reduction activities.
- Reduced work-in-progress and money tied up in stock.
- Get rid of waste in all its forms and therefore the cash going down the drain with it.
- Get out of the habit of ‘throwing money at the problem’ when issues occur, by getting better control of your processes.
- Spend less, by getting the best value for money out of your plant and people.
Big falls in lead-times
- Understand your processes and how
long they take. Then optimise them to drive down their overall duration.
- Identify and eliminate the time
delays in your processes.
- Promote one piece flow and get rid
of queues and delays.
- Get suppliers involved so they
deliver when and where you need them to.
- Let demand drive your delivery. Move
towards just-in-time and kanban-based supply, where parts are delivered
when and where they are required.
Significant improvement in quality
with fewer defects
- Standardise the way you do things.
Understand where and how errors may occur, then eliminate them.
- Train your workforce to undertake
tasks in a standardised, error-free way.
- Get employees to be quality
conscious; a different way of thinking that aims to improve processes and
stop and rectify issues before they become problems.
- Deploy tools and techniques to
improve quality, based on visibility and a common sense approach.
- Embed a culture of continuous
Improved customer service and satisfaction
- Truly understand what the customer
considers as value. Then focus all
your efforts on delivering this. Customer defined quality and value, over
- Focus on the delivery of defect-free
products and outstanding customer service to generate repeat business.
- Make it easy for customers to
feedback and use this to drive internal improvements.
- Delight customers with outstanding
service. Use this in your marketing and receive new referral business.
Impressive improvement in employee
- Dramatically increase employee interest by acknowledging
those close to the action are best qualified to make improvements.
- Get employees involved with lean training, problem solving
and waste reduction tasks.
- Use targets and rewards to build momentum and change the
- Increase staff satisfaction, as they see the dramatic
benefits that result from their problem solving ideas and efforts.
- Share the rewards such as an improved working environment,
potential bonuses through savings and less stress.
Boost your profitability
- More profits due to all the points above – a leaner, lower
cost business model.
- Profits are available for reinvestment and growth.
Lean Manufacturing Principles Explained and Applied
Lean Theory and Principles
To gain a decent understanding of the thinking behind lean,
it’s worth touching on some of the principles that underpin the philosophy.
The legendary Womack and Jones (founders of the Lean
Institute) describe 5 principles in their best-selling book Lean Thinking.
- Value –
Identify what value is from the customer’s viewpoint.
- The Value Steam
– Identify and understand what the process steps are, by value stream
mapping, for example. Understand
the flow of information, material and products to the customer. Identify
which activities add value and which do not. Improve tasks and reduce
- Flow – Aim for
a process as close to smooth continuous flow as possible. Try to avoid
batches that queue up. Instead aim for single piece flow, producing to
demand where possible.
- Pull – Produce
at the rate the customer demands, thereby getting the customer to ‘pull’ whatever
you are producing through the system. If you use one, then make one and so
minimise inventory in your process.
- Perfection –
This principle is about consciously continuing to improve. Seek perfection
by continuing to reduce waste and improving processes.
Lean and Total Quality – Further
One of the key reasons larger prime manufacturers and their
tier 1 suppliers are comparatively successful, is their wholesale adoption of
lean manufacturing. Although originally pioneered in the automotive industry,
particularly with Toyota,
lean manufacturing has quickly spread to aerospace and through to all other
industry sectors. The principles have been adopted by businesses in the supply
chain of the larger firms. Of course, lean principles are now been applied in a
wide range of areas of the economy beyond manufacturing, in both the private
and public sectors.
A lot has been written about lean. In order to obtain a good
grounding in the philosophy or simply if it interests you, consider exploring
it further. Because so many see the potential for improvement in their own
workplace, it’s common for employees’ interest to grow, as lean is something
they can relate to. Listed below are
some of the major contributors to lean, along with sources of additional
- Jim Womack &
Dan Jones – Books: Lean Thinking and The Machine that changed the
- Deming - 14 Points.
Deming/PDCA Cycle. Plan/Do/Check/Act. www.deming.org
- Ishikawa – Ishikawa/Fishbone
Lean Manufacturing Significant Benefits
Lean Enterprise Institute
The Lean Enterprise Academy
The Lean Advancement Initiative
Powerful Lean Tools and Techniques
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