What is Lean?
Lean is an improvement method with the purpose of promoting continuous improvement. It provides a toolkit of lean manufacturing techniques that we employ to help our clients improve and gain competitive edge. Lean techniques aim to maximise customer value whilst minimising waste.
History of Lean
The term Lean was developed in the 1990’s from the Womack and Jones best seller “The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production”. The book revealed how the Toyota Production System (TPS) had transformed a small post war Japanese car company into the most successful car company in the world. In the 1980’s a Toyota took 17 hours to be built, and was ready to be shipped. In comparison, a Mercedes spent that time in the rework area alone.
The core aim of Lean manufacturing is to eliminate non-value adding (referred to as those which the customer would not want to pay for) to compress time and create competitive advantage by optimising the use of limited resources, (including people, space and capital.)
What are the benefits of Lean
Lean is about creating products or services using only the absolute minimum of resources and therefore being able to offer customers value for money whilst maximising business profitability.
Implementation of lean methodology creates an organised and efficient workplace where tasks can be standardised and easily repeatable ensuring a consistent success rate every time. Lean manufacturing techniques can reduce process inputs for people and materials, eliminating waste such as delays, defects, overproduction and work in progress allowing significant savings to be made. Where there is a lack of reliability there is waste. If your processes are not reliable you cannot be lean.
A fundamental principle of lean methodology is demand-based flow manufacturing. This involves removing the variation caused by work scheduling, thereby providing priorities for implementation. In this type of production setting, inventory is only pulled through each production centre when it is needed to meet a customer’s order. High levels of equipment availability are a pre-requisite for demand based flow.
Our improvement consultants know how to boost the benefits of your lean manufacturing implementation with the inclusion of our reliability improvement methods.
Take a look at our IMPACT Toolkit™ to find out more.