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Origins of Lean Manufacturing

What is Lean Manufacturing

Why are so many businesses struggling to compete and survive, doing today what they did yesterday and wondering why things just don’t  improve. To flourish in today’s business world you need to be able to totally satisfy your customers whilst being as efficient as it is possible to be.

 

People do not have a clear view of  what is lean manufacturing, reading the many definitions, sales pitches and articles from the many consultancies out there you would be forgiven if you think that Lean manufacturing was purely a drive to reduce your internal costs through removing and reducing waste. But this is the wrong focus, lean manufacturing  is about providing the customer with value, not the company being driven by corporate greed, putting profits first. Focus on giving the customer value and the profits will automatically increase and waste will be prevented!

What is Lean Manufacturing

It is about finding exactly what features and services the customer values, seeing how the value flows from raw materials to the final customer and then making that value stream flow at the pull of the customer not being built just in case the customer wants it,  without being delayed or caught in inventory. This is Just In Time (JIT) manufacturing, making exactly what the customer wants when they really want it, not building excessive stock Just In Case, or producing it the day after it was required  because you were producing what the customer wanted next month, Just Too Late!

 

 

 

 

History of Lean Manufacturing

To be able to implement lean well you need to understand  the history of lean manufacturing, where lean has been developed by Toyota building upon the many ideas of Ford and various manufacturing and quality gurus such as Taylor, Taguchi,  and Deming. Toyota took the principles of Just In Time (JIT) and included the need for respect and the involvement of their employees at all levels  in delivering value to the customer. Then they work to continually improve each and every aspect of their business, striving to reach perfection in every thing that they do.

 

Toyota knew that the Ford system was one in which the very low paid workers relied on Ford, that they were treated as just  muscle to get the work done and the management were the thinking few. Toyota knew that they needed to gain the support of its workers to utilize their experience and knowledge in a drive to be much better than its competition. the only way to do this was to show respect for everyone within the organization.

 

 

 

 

History of Lean Manufacturing

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  • Article by Tony Lean

    avatar Handsome world traveler with a background in business improvement and quality management tools and techniques such as Lean Manufacturing and six sigma developed through working in the Automotive industry then migrating into construction and consulting for major universities in the UK.. Have worked overseas in places such as Saudi Arabia in the Middle East (just in case you didn't know its location). and now live in the Philippines. A keen DIY buff I have built my own house and swimming pool.
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