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What is Lean Manufacturing? Principles and Important Concepts

Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing is a methodology and a sociotechnical approach to decrease the waste within the manufacturing systems and help in increasing productivity. Lean Manufacturing is first used in Toyota Production System and now it is used by Nike, myriad, and Caterpillar Inc. It has various benefits in reducing operating costs, reduced lead times, and improved product quality.

Five Principles of Lean Manufacturing

This reference is taken from the book – Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation (published in the Year 1996). These principles are the basis for lean implementation, also depend on Value, Pull, perfection, Value Stream and, Flow.

1. Creating a Pull System:

Instead of using the PUSH System, Lean manufacturing use PULL System. PUSH System is generally used in manufacturing resource planning (MRP) systems. MRP System with Pull system can manufacture until there is a demand for production. This Pull system work as per communications. 

2. Analyses and Records of Material:

This principle helps to analyze and record the flow of information as well as required material to produce selective services. This will intent to identify waste and methods of improvement. The value stream includes the product’s life in the entire lifecycle.

3. Process Flow Report:

Lean manufacturing can eliminate functional barriers and recognize ways to increase lead-time and ensure structured processes (from receiving the order to delivery of the product).

4. Values Customer’s Perspective:

Companies should understand the values of products and services from a customer perspective which can help them understand how much money the customer can pay. The company can achieve the highest profit by getting strive to decrease waste and cost from production.

5. Improvement in Continual Process (Kaizen):

Lean Manufacturing can be continually striving for perfection which involves Root Cause Analysis as per Quality Requirements to eliminate waste across the value. 

Important Concepts and Processes of Lean Manufacturing:

Andon: It alerts workers on a problem with Visual aid/ Flashing Light.

Poka-yoke: This concept safeguards against human errors in industry, such as Light Indicator that turns on if any require step missed. 

Kanban:  This concept is useful to streamline processes and develop just in time delivery. This will work as a Single either physical, like tag or empty bin.

Jidoka: This is one of the methods of providing machines and humans with the ability to detect, also it will be stop work until it can be corrected. 

Cycle time: This is helpful in Time management to fulfill customer requirements. 

5S: This is the set of practices for organizing efficient and Effective workspaces. The 5S process also helps to emphasize the cleanliness of the organization.

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