Lean manufacturing is a method developed by the Japanese company Toyota, and it is used in eliminating waste (Muda in Japanese) in a manufacturing system. Essentially, this practice aims to add more value to the structure by reducing everything else to improve the value of products and customer interaction. There are several lean principles that govern this systematic method, and it is important to understand these principles before implementing the technique.
The main principle of lean is to eliminate wastes. In the manufacturing environment, there are many wastes produced due to overproduction, unnecessary motion, inventory, defects, waiting, over-processing, and transportation. These types of wastes can also be applied to different types of businesses. In the process of eliminating waste, it is important to look into the diverse areas within the organization and determine the non-value added work so that it can be reduced or eliminated.
Termed as Kaizen in Japanese, continuous improvement is the most important of all principles in lean. Without it, the organization will not be able to experience progress at all. The thing is that continuous improvement always promotes changes needed in order to achieve the desired situation or state. It does not matter if you seek small or big improvement, what matters is that you constantly seek it and that will bring success.
Respect For The Humanity
Business is for the people, thus the next principle of lean manufacturing has something to do with the welfare of the people. In fact, the most important resource of any company is its manpower. Without the people working for the company, it will not succeed. It is important for a business to make their employees feel respected. The more motivated they feel, the harder they will work to implement the lean system. To make people feel respected, companies should constantly communicate with them and listen to their ideas.
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Leveled production is an important foundation in lean manufacturing. It emphasizes that the workload should be the same every single day. The thing is that many companies are at the mercy of their clients, and their production depends on the orders of their clients. So once a company gets a large volume order, it often results in excess production effort and even products that may not be needed by the clients at all. Leveled production is a key ingredient in reducing the amount of waste due to overproduction.
To reduce wastes, lean indicates that the quality should be built-in to the manufacturing process. This means from the design phase down to the packaging, quality should exist all throughout. Automation, while still using human touch, is a great example of this lean principle.
Just In Time Production
The just in time principle indicates that companies should only make what is required when it is required while considering the quality of the product. With this principle, the components used in creating a product are used timely and appropriately so the waste produced is minimal.