Why Lean Manufacturing?
Lean Manufacturing is a philosophy of eliminating
non-value-adding operations, equipment, and resources.
- Anything that does not add value is waste.
- The Lean Mantra is "Produce the right products and provide the right
services at the required time in the required quantities with
consistency and predictability."
A successful Lean effort has a significant impact on the
- In-process cycle times and lead times drop, inventory shrinks, and
quality rises when an organization adopts lean.
Lean can be counter-intuitive.
- The underlying principles and practices of lean are in conflict with
many conventional manufacturing methods. For example, operating
without inventory and producing to order rather than for stock takes
away an operational security blanket.
- Another example concerns scheduling practices; conventional wisdom
has been to schedule long runs of the same products to reduce
step-ups but lean needs small lots to functional effectively.
Lean does not apply to just manufacturing processes.
- Lean involves eliminating waste in the entire organization. In fact,
lean efforts in certain manufacturing support processes are critical
to successful lean manufacturing implementation.
- The role of purchasing, scheduling, shipping and accounting are all
crucial to lean manufacturing success.
Lean requires true commitments, support, and involvement from the
- Considering that so many aspects of lean are counter-intuitive to
traditional manufacturing thinking, adopting lean does require
somewhat of a leap of faith.
- Unless the leadership team is ready to embrace lean, it may be best
not to start a lean effort.
Implementation of lean manufacturing is a complex undertaking.
- It's not a matter of changing one or two things or moving one or two
pieces of equipment.
- A successful lean initiative most likely involves changing paradigms
of how manufacturing is scheduled to run.
- Most importantly though, it involves a solid commitment from the
leadership of the organization.