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Getting The Most From The Tools of Lean Manufacturing

Getting The Most From The Tools of Lean Manufacturing


Lean manufacturing espouses the ‘no waste’ philosophy in managing the workplace and production processes. It does not know any company size. Whether it’s a major corporation or a small group of five housewives with a cookie business, successful lean manufacturing techniques lies in its implementation and the discipline of those participating in it.


Experts say that lean manufacturing tools first gained popularity in Japan — a country best known for its highly unique and innovative approaches to a variety of things and methods, even with problem-solving strategies.


The success of lean manufacturing is determined by how implementing companies deal with and initiate ways to achieve maximum benefits from the resources available to them without having to spend too much. Success is also driven by the reduction and eventual elimination of the so-called wastes of corporate environments.


These wastes have been identified as: transportation (the movement of goods more than what is minimally needed), motion (employees working more than what is minimally required), defects (the efforts linked with inspecting and fixing problems), processing (conducting more work than what is actually needed), overproduction (leading to wasteful stockpiles) and inventory.


It is a fact that all firms need to reduce costs, what with rising energy prices and intensifying competition. Reading business journals, you can see that firms are filing for bankruptcy left and right, citing mismanagement as the most common cause of the Chapter 11 filings. Even the most stable companies have fallen prey to these. This is why lean manufacturing is starting to become the overhaul method of choice for firms wanting to get back on track.


The tricky part about implementing lean manufacturing tools is that most of the wastes identified are invisible, making their reduction and eventual eradication challenging. But with careful planning, lean manufacturing tools should be a walk in the park for your company. 

The following five lean manufacturing tools are what serve as guidelines for firms that want to maximize value out of their organization.


The Right Way, The First Time


Trial and error methods are simply a waste of resources and time. If enough effort is placed in carefully planning a certain manufacturing process, then there wouldn’t be the need to start all over again, or settle with mediocre situations.


Go Away, Waste


Lean manufacturing principles focus on eliminating waste from the company. This means taking out unnecessary departments or redundant positions, or eradicating processes that just cause delay.


If it means terminating jobs, then do so. Lean manufacturing espouses that all resources, land, persons and capital, are used in the best and most efficient way they can be used.


In Constant Search for the Best Quality


Every company should always reach for the highest value that can be achieved. All the effort will be futile and major waste if this isn’t done so.


No Pushing


Consumers should be given the freedom to decide what they want. As a manufacturer, you should impose trends or products to your clients. Rather, you should always be on the lookout for what will make your consumers happy.


Exercise Flexibility


Lean manufacturing tools do not support stiff and linear thinking. If something needs to be improved and changed along the way, then do so at once, instead of contending with the original plan that has been eventually found to be resource and time-wasteful along the way.

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