6 Lean Manufacturing Principles to Improve Your Productivity

Lean manufacturing is a production method that emphasizes the importance of the creation of value for the customer. It considers the use of resources for any other goal to be wasteful in nature. Thus, these wasteful uses need to be eliminated. In lean manufacturing, “value” is thought to be any process or action that would be willingly paid for by the end customer.

Basically, lean is focused on preserving value with a limited amount of work. The principles of lean manufacturing had their origins in the Japanese manufacturing industry. The Japanese developed several key principles that have since been followed by manufacturers all over the world. These principles are as follows:

1. Elimination of waste

This is considered to be one of the most important lean manufacturing principles. This is because the other principles tend to revolve around it. The basic types of waste manufacturing are:

  • Waste of Overprocessing
  • Waste of Transportation
  • Waste of Waiting
  • Production of Defects
  • Waste of Inventory
  • Waste of Unnecessary Motion
  • Over Production

These types of waste were related to manufacturing when they were first conceived. Now they are frequently used in various types of businesses. The goal of waste elimination is to examine every area of a business, figure out what work has no value and eliminate it.

2. Continuous improvement

This principle should form the basis of a company’s lean implementation. The manufacturing process will come to a halt without continuous improvement. It helps to promote necessary and constant change towards reaching a desired goal. Whether the changes that are made are big or small, they must always improve the finished product. As there is always room for improvement, this process is continual.

3. Respect for humanity

Employees are the most valuable resource that a company has. A business will not be able to prosper without quality people working for it. The job performance of employees tends to go down if they feel they are not respected. If a company is trying to implement lean manufacturing, this can be a huge problem. A business that wants to grow needs to have a respect for humanity philosophy. This means holding their employees in high regard and always appreciating their efforts.

4. Levelized production

This is the foundation of lean manufacturing. The idea is for the amount of work to be the same every day. The majority of manufacturing businesses operate at the mercy of their clients. Before they can begin to make a product, they have to wait for orders to come in. This can lead to a delivery time that is increased that may be unsatisfactory to clients. However, there are companies that base their production on a forecast. In this method, excess product is often produced that is not needed. Both history and forecast are taken into consideration when using levelized production. The utilization of a pull system is the key factor in this lean manufacturing principle.

5. Just in time production

This principle is focused on building only what is required, when it is required and in the proper quantity. When used with levelized production, this principle is most effective with a pull system. This allows for the production and movement of parts only when they are needed. The result is that no time is spent manufacturing a product that is unable to be sold.

free-kaizen-guide6. Quality built in

The final principle requires for the manufacturing process to have quality built in. Quality should be a major consideration in regards to the design, the packaging and the shipping of the product. A good example of this principle are machines that are able to automatically detect any defects in the manufacturing process and stop production immediately.

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