Thursday, January 8, 2009

LEAN Manufacturing

What Does It Mean?

Lean manufacturing is simply about removing wastes, those activities and processes that don't add to a product's value. In practice, as businesses find the next better way to do things, helping them to improve profitability or reduce prices, what they are actually finding are ways to remove wastes.

It seems to us that increasing numbers of businesses are understanding and enthusiastically embracing the tools and techniques of Lean manufacturing. More importantly, they're making it work for them and their customers. Some may risk having to play Lean catch-up just to stay in business.

Lean manufacturing is underpinned by 5 principles:

- Specify what creates value from the customers perspective
- Identify all the steps along the process chain
- Make those processes flow
- Make only what is pulled by the customer
- Strive for perfection by continually removing wastes

The main driver for Lean is to compress the time period from customer order to payment.

The way that this is achieved is by identifying and eliminating waste. In a conventional supply chain and in individual businesses, there are potentially huge amounts of different wastes, known as The 7 Wastes: