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What is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean Manufacturing is an initiative focused on eliminating all waste in manufacturing processes resulting in a more competitive and profitable position in the applicable industry.

Lean production is aimed at the elimination of waste in every area of production including customer relations, product design, supplier networks and factory management. Its goal is to incorporate less human effort, less inventory, less time to develop products, and less space to become highly responsive to customer demand while producing top quality products in the most efficient and economical manner possible.

Goals of a Lean Enterprise:

>        Zero waiting time

>        Zero Inventory

>        Scheduling -- internal customer pull instead of push         system

>        Batch to Flow -- cut batch sizes

>        Line Balancing

>        Cut actual process times

 

Benefits of being Lean:

  

The Lean philosophy costs a company virtually nothing to implement and being Lean will result in doubling productivity, cutting development time by 60%, reducing inventory by 65%, reducing throughput time by 95%, reducing capital investment and doubling sales.  Naturally these numbers are estimates but there are numerous success stories to support the fact that there is a significant bottom line profitability increase that a Lean Company obtains over traditional MRP/ERP Shop Floor Scheduling practices.

  

The Lean Manufacturing Movement, also known as “The Lean Journey”, is a real entity and it works.  The US Government recognizes the importance of the Lean movement and created an organization called Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to educate and train companies to become Lean.  The MEP goal is to assist US companies to become profitable, create more jobs, make the US less dependant on imported goods and to produce quality made US goods having a competitive world market price.  

  

The MEP organization has a substantial presence throughout the US and they offer consulting services at a discount price and sometimes for free with government grants.  I recommend a fantastic introductory Lean 101 course that the MEP organization offers.  It is a one-day course and workshop that demonstrates the benefits of being Lean.

  

The course starts with a traditional Batch and Queue shop floor manufacturing process and establishes a baseline for throughput and bottom line (net) profitability for a test company producing a simple clock.  After several carefully guided steps and process improvements, the test company demonstrated incredible improvement and before you know it, you just learned the basic Lean Concepts.  The best part is that implementing Lean Manufacturing is virtually free; it is just a matter of changing the way your product flows through your organization and abandoning traditional “We always did it this way” habits and thought process.  

  

  

Authored By:

  

Robert Krause

Lean Consultant

Email:  rwfk2@optonline.net, Office 516.983.8095

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