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 organization’s performance.
- 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 leadership team.
- 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.