Lean manufacturing addresses one of the worst things that can happen to any business – waste. Whether they are idle workers or unused materials, the results are the same: poor productivity & low efficiency. The concept of lean as a management system is evolved with a commitment to reducing waste and enhancing the production process. This article will shed light on the definition of lean manufacturing and the 5 principles to effortlessly achieve it.
The Definition of Lean Manufacturing
Lean manufacturing, commonly known as “Lean”, is a set of methods and procedures for production practice management. “Lean” embraces a fundamental idea: all expenditures for non-value-adding operations are wasteful. Manufacturers use lean manufacturing to boost production effectiveness, cut costs, and improve product quality. Lean manufacturing, emphasising waste reduction, supports current sustainability goals.
The History of Lean Manufacturing
The fundamental principles of lean manufacturing may have existed for centuries, but Benjamin Franklin strengthened them in his “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” where he stated that cutting expenses may result in greater profits than growing sales.
He believed that organisations from a variety of industries could enable the practice of lean manufacturing. Later, Toyota, Intel, John Deere, Nike, and other well-known corporations all employed lean techniques. The strategy is still employed by numerous other businesses and is further developed based on the Toyota Production System and Enterprise Resource Planning System.
The Five Key Principles of a Lean Manufacturing
Businesses use the five-step process for the implementation of lean techniques. These key lean principles are value, value stream, flow, pull, and perfection.
1. Identify Value
Although the producer creates value, it is determined by the client. Businesses must comprehend the value that consumers place on their goods and services so that they can decide the price points at which customers are willing to pay. In the manufacturing industry, here are some of the things a manufacturer can consider:
- What is the timeline for manufacturing and delivery?
- What is the price point?
- What are other important requirements?
2. Create a Value Stream Map
After defining the value, business owners shall take the next step of mapping the value stream. This helps identify all the elements and actions that bring a product from raw materials to the final products. It is like the product’s life cycle, through any process – design, production, procurement, delivery, after-sale service, etc. The aim of drawing this is to find every step that does not add value and then figure out how to get rid of those inefficient stages. Process re-engineering is another name for value-stream mapping. The end outcome of this practice is also a deeper comprehension of the complete corporate function.
3. Generate a Process Flow
Following the removal of waste from the value stream, it is necessary to ensure that the remaining processes proceed without hiccups, delays, or bottlenecks. Make the value-creating steps happen in a precise order so that the product or service will flow smoothly toward the customer.
One of the biggest obstacles for lean initiatives to overcome is being cross-functional across all areas, which may require breaking down silo thinking. Studies on lean manufacturing system implementation indicate that this will also result in significant increases in productivity and efficiency, perhaps by as much as 50%.
4. Create an On-demand Process (a Pull System)
A successful process flow pinpoints the locations in the production cycle where resources, supplies, work-in-progress (WIP), or final goods are accumulating. Advanced planning and scheduling systems can optimise the timetable and movement of these things in a way that minimises inventory without depriving any process step of necessary resources when demand serves as the key criterion in a “pull” approach. The just-in-time idea is represented by this strategy.
5. Pursue Perfection with Continual Process Improvement
The foundation of lean manufacturing is the idea of continuous improvement, which calls for identifying and removing waste across the value stream as well as addressing the underlying causes of quality problems.
The first four steps of this procedure should be repeated continuously for process improvement. As large volumes of data are produced today during manufacturing operations from sensors, testing, and process documentation. Companies are equipped with new knowledge to find and eliminate previously unidentified sources of waste when this data is processed for fresh production insights.
Lean manufacturing is a methodology that can aid in streamlining and enhancing production procedures or other services. It enables business owners to improve work efficiency, and reduce time and costs by getting rid of waste. Lean as a methodology works best when implemented throughout the entire organisation, with ongoing evaluation and adjustments made with the help of staff members at all levels.
However, it is hard to achieve a Lean Manufacturing business without the adoption of modern technologies. At Synergix Technologies, we provide a solution for your lean manufacturing businesses with our fully-integrated ERP system. Synergix ERP System is a powerful set of software applications that combines sophisticated business controls, intuitive navigation, and multiple customisation tools with the flexibility and scalability of a world-class manufacturing ERP system. Interested in a free consultation, contact our experts!