Principles of Lean Manufacturing

If you feel like your company is suffering from low profitable deals and its work output is constantly lowering, then you need to find out everything about the main principles of lean manufacturing.

Lean manufacturing will not only change the situation completely, but also give you the knowledge how to build a really profitable business.

These 5 principles of lean manufacturing are set to make you understand the working process on the pro level.

  1. Principles of Lean Thinking include a new look at value within a company.  Value is defined as those activities the customer is willing to pay for.To determine if a step is a value added step, it must satisfy 3 criteria.The first is that the customer wants it.The second is that the step changes the form, fit, or function of the product or service towards the final condition.The last is that the step is done right the first time.If any one of these are not satisfied, it is not a value-added step.
  2. The next principle is to reduce or eliminate wastes.  Muda is the waste that exists in processes.
    Examples of MUDA or non-value added steps are:

    • Setups,
    • Queues
    • Inspections
    • Meetings
    • Planning
    • Interruptions
    • and Data collections or metric logging.

    When one looks at a typical process they find that the non-value added steps take up approximately 50 – 90% of the cycle time.

  3. The aim of any process is to produce a smooth movement of either product or information from the beginning to end of the process.Issues that arise and prevent this flow include:Mura or Unevenness of product.  Efforts must be made to monitor the flow and if an unevenness is found, it must be immediately addressed.The second issue is call Muri.  This translates to Overburden or unreasonableness.  This occurs when a process is pushed beyond its capabilities.  It is important that key people understand the limits of the process.  Pushing a process beyond its limits will lead to waste.
  4. Using a Pull systemImproves the precision of productionAllows the organization to measure the actual consumption of material as well asSmaller lot sizes, and low WIP and inventoriesThe pull system creates and environment where management is performed by visual meansIt also requires the organization to maintain close communication.
  5.  Perfection in all processes is the ultimate goal.  For Lean this refers to the seamless and flawless flow of production without waste.

The basic tools used in the Lean initiative are:

  • The 5 S activities
  • Elimination of Muda or Waste
  • Determining the proper takt time or pace of the process
  • Creating and using a Kanban system to prevent WIP and waste
  • Using Poke Yoke devices to detect errors at the point of origin
  • Creating an Even flow or material or information
  • Working to produce changeovers in the range of minutes instead of hours
  • Using Andon or a visual signal to indicate when a machine requires attention.