What is Lean Manufacturing?

What is lean manufacturing? Lean manufacturing, or lean, has helped to reduce waste and improve productivity and efficiency for many manufacturing companies across the globe. However, few actually understand the concept of lean and its benefits.

So to help you understand how this process can improve your company, we’ve provided everything you need to know about lean manufacturing below.

Lean Manufacturing History and Overview

What is Lean Manufacturing?Lean manufacturing is the process of eliminating or minimizing waste within a manufacturing system. While the process in part dates back to Venice in the 1450s, lean wasn’t fully integrated until 1913. During this time, Henry Ford implemented the process to enhance his production lines of the Model T Ford.

However, today’s philosophy of lean wouldn’t be developed until the 1930s when Toyota created the Toyota Production System. This, as well as a few key principles, helped companies to create high-quality products that customers would find valuable while eliminating waste in the production system. As a result, these principles would also help to ensure efficiency and productivity.

These types of waste are categorized as:

  • Muda: Additional activity during manufacturing that’s not needed
  • Muri: Waste created from overburden in manufacturing processes
  • Mura: Waste created from unevenness in the manufacturing process

Principles of Lean Manufacturing

To eliminate these wastes, Toyota developed five principles that would become an integral part of lean manufacturing today:

  • Value: Understanding the value customers see in your products
  • Value Stream: Eliminate waste from the production processes
  • Flow: Ensuring that all production steps flow without bottlenecks or delays
  • Pull: Producing products as needed to avoid overstock and delay
  • Perfection: Continuously improving the manufacturing process to eliminate waste and ensure efficiency and productivity

Benefits of Lean Manufacturing

What is Lean Manufacturing?The purpose of lean manufacturing is to help companies create products without having to deal with waste and bottlenecks during the production process. Essentially, lean helps companies to provide their customers with the valuable products they need when they need them without having to worry about costs and slow delivery times.

However, customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from this process. With lean manufacturing, companies can experience better production rates, which means better efficiency and higher revenue. This is because lean manufacturing works to eliminate unnecessary operation costs.

For example, lean helps to remove additional steps in the production process that aren’t required to properly manufacture a product. Taking unnecessary steps out of the process cuts costs and production time.

Lean also helps businesses to create better products the first time, as it works to enhance the overall manufacturing process. This means companies will produce fewer defective products, leading to reduced inspections and repeat production costs.

Lean manufacturing has a history of helping companies achieve great success. So take the steps needed to eliminate the waste from your manufacturing process so you can experience increased efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

To learn more about creating the ideal lean manufacturing system, check out our article, Lean Manufacturing Principles: Steps to the Ideal Lean Manufacturing System