The Meaning of LEAN
Lean is “a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste (non-value-added activities) through continuous process improvement by flowing the product at the pull of the customer in pursuit of perfection.”
Value-added activities are those that change the form, fit, or function which adds some value that a customer will pay for with the finished product.
Non-value-added activities are those that do NOT change the form, fit, or function and basically add nothing to the finish product.
Benefits of LEAN
There are tangible and intangible benefits of using the lean tools to make process improvements. Some of the tangible benefits include: reduced lead time for orders, improved quality, reduced cost, reduced inventory, improved productivity, better floor-space utilization. The intangible benefits include better teamwork, improved morale, and better perception in the eyes of the customer.
LEAN Is Eliminating Waste
Learning LEAN concepts and application methods is not a single event, but the start of a journey. Companies embracing LEAN can expect quick, dramatic reductions in waste and improvements in productivity. LEAN principles are applicable to companies ranging from the small job shops to large manufacturing enterprises. It teaches a systematic approach to eliminating wastes and creating flow throughout the enterprise.
LEAN Tools for Success
- 5S (Sort, Set-In-Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) – A simple, yet highly effective, low-cost way to improve workplace organization and operational efficiency.
- Cellular Flow – Optimally produce a variety of products with little waste through this technique.
- Pull Systems –Regulate the flow of resources in a manufacturing process by replacing only what has been consumed and only what is immediately deliverable.
- Setup Reduction – Time elapsed at a work center from when the last good part of the current run is completed until the work center starts running the first good part of the next run.
- Standardized Work – Eliminate variations by defining each step in the process and perform them uniformly every time.
- Value Stream Mapping – Highlight inefficiencies and waste, and illustrates the best approach to resolve them.
- Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)- A proactive approach to equipment maintenance to improve productivity with a goal of no defects, no breakdowns, no stops, and no accidents.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)- Variables to assess, analyze, and track identified processes.
- Facility Layout/Design (3P) – The LEAN methodology for plant layout and process design is formally known as the Production Preparations Process (3P). It is a powerful means of taking a big-picture look at how a product is designed and manufactured. It guides companies through the creative process of generating ideas, and then whittles the ideas down to one that will be implemented.