What Is Lean Manufacturing?
Lean Manufacturing is a management philosophy based on the Toyota Production System (TPS). This management philosophy was coined "Lean" only in the 1990s. The objective of Lean Thinking is to eliminate everything that does not add value (i.e. "waste") from the customer's perspective; and on maximizing value for customers, in order to improve efficiency, quality, and overall performance.
The core principles of Lean include:
- Waste Elimination: Lean Manufacturing seeks to identify and eliminate waste in all areas of the business, including activities, processes, and resources that do not add value for customers. By eliminating waste, organizations can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase the value of their products and services.
- Customer-centricity: Lean Manufacturing focuses on understanding and meeting the needs and preferences of customers—and on delivering value to customers in the most efficient and effective way possible. By prioritizing the needs of customers, organizations can ensure that their products and services are well-suited to the market, and that they are delivering value to customers.
- Continuous Improvement: Being Lean is all about continuously identifying and implementing small, incremental improvements to processes, products, and services. By adopting a Culture of Continuous Improvement, organizations can create a mindset of learning and growth, and can drive ongoing improvements to their performance and efficiency.
- Empowerment and Engagement: In a Lean Manufacturing organization, we empower and engage employees. Lean Manufacturing provides employees with the tools, resources, and support they need to be successful. By empowering and engaging employees, organizations can create a positive and productive work environment—and can encourage Innovation and Collaboration.
There is a vast inventory of Lean techniques and tools available, which have been established and tested with numerous case studies. Examples of Lean frameworks include
Value Stream Mapping (VSM)
Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
We have also published an in-depth article on Lean Manufacturing & Management, which breaks the 8 types of waste and other foundational Lean concepts.