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is a web resource where you can find out more about lean
manufacturing and operations management from concepts and theory to real business applications.
is intended to be user friendly and a knowledge resource to anyone from students
to manufacturing engineers, managers consultants
and anyone interested in this broad subject. I hope you enjoy the site.
Lean Manufacturing Introduction
is a manufacturing term used to describe a manufacturing, industrial or service operation which operates with little or no type of muda (waste), thus making the operation very efficient and only consisting of value adding steps from start to finish, as can be seen in a value stream map. The term lean centers around the idea that the customer purchasing a good or service is only willing to pay for the value added "steps" in making or delivering such a service. Therefore the non value adding "steps" and its associated costs are bared by the manufacturing company, thus reducing margins for the manufacturer. Many of the concepts are derived from the Toyota Production system, who are considered to be the pioneers in several lean manufacturing concepts and principles.
Manufacturing went through a revolution at the start of the 20th century with the creation of the assembly line to mass produce the Ford model T by Henry Ford. Even then when the lean manufacturing concept was years away, Ford had a focus on reducing time and material waste, increasing quality, and lowering cycle times, in order to achieve a lower cost vehicle which was reflected in the price reduction of the model T year on year. This focus allowed him to reduce costs, even though he payed his workers well, and provide a great value product to the customer.
Toyota later developed the Just in time model (JIT)
as we know it today. The model aims at continuous flow of materials through a process with
minimal inventory or work in progress (WIP) through the different value adding work stations or stages. JIT is
pull system which adapts to consumer demand, and is usually implemented with a kanban system. JIT is further explained in the JIT section of this website.
In today's world more and more organizations are realizing how important eliminating wasted resources, improving quality and customer satisfaction is in order to sustain a competitive business. There is also a pressure to reduce manufacturing, operating and
inventory costs and increase efficiencies not only in manufacturing but in different types of industries, such as banking, business and community services.
The challenge today is adapting these concepts and technologies to this wide range of industries successfully. The key to success in implementing lean manufacturing principles in any organization is to foster a culture of continuous improvement within its company culture, quality focus, lean thinking, and customer satisfaction as the organization's ultimate goal. This shift in culture, if not already present, must come from top management and be embraced by all layers of the organization.