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Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing

What is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean Manufacturing is a continuous and systematic production methodology. It involves the identification and elimination of activities that do not add value in a process but do involve cost and effort.

The main philosophy behind Lean Manufacturing is based on the premise “everything can be done better“. That is to say, that in an organization there must be a continuous search for improvement opportunities.

As a result, an organization that applies it should adjust its production to demand. Above all, this process must be done in the time and quantities requested, with a minimum cost.

Therefore, Lean Manufacturing can be defined as a production philosophy that brings together a set of procedures. The aim is to design a strategy to satisfy customer needs with minimum cost, competitive quality, and high flexibility.

Consequently, Lean Manufacturing will allow the organization to:

In general terms, it contributes to making the organization more competitive, innovative, and efficient.

Who participates in Lean Manufacturing?

The Lean Manufacturing methodology must be executed by inclusive, organized, and trained work teams. In other words, the workers involved in Lean techniques should represent all of the different levels within the organization.

By incorporating Lean manufacturing, it is necessary the active participation of the plant operators in all the stages of the methodology.

Lean Manufacturing Strategic Model and Tools

The continuous search for new opportunities and improvement must be part of an organizational strategy. Lean Manufacturing philosophy involves tools that companies use to perform specific processes and generate an improved management system.

Lean Manufacturing tools applied to a strategic model

To clarify, in all of the above, operational excellence is driven using the KAIZEN methodology.

Key principles and phases in the implementation of Lean Manufacturing

Organizations that seek to implement the Lean methodology aim to improve the performance of their processes.

In this quest, many organizations have failed in obtaining significant results. As a result, it is very important to consider that Lean Manufacturing is a philosophy that requires organizational commitment and cultural adaptation.

Experts have explained that in order to get significant results, it is important to consider these principal keys:

Phase 0. Traditional: Preparation (1 – 3 months)

Phase 1. Application: Pilot Areas (4 – 6 months)

Phase 2. Value chains: Chain Management (1 – 2 years)

Phase 3. Lean Organizations: Lean Thinking (Permanent Habit)

The traditional stage in the Lean path consists of diagnosing the current situation of the organization. For this reason, designing an adequate strategic plan, and creating an optimal work team must be part of the process.

In other words, the first stage of application confronts the organization by identifying its flaws and mistakes, in order to change them with its new techniques. The value chains stage focuses on the structure of the organization and collective work model.

The application of phase 1 is extended to other areas, like logistics and Lean accounting. Consequently, delivery processes optimize, and performance indicators enable decision-making, based on results and vital information.

The final stage has the purpose of achieving a Lean organization, making their Lean thinking, based on commitment, discipline, and knowledge management.

In conclusion, a Lean organization must reflect in all its areas and processes the highest possible value, and in all its members, the idea that this organization is the best place to work on.

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