Lean Thinking and the 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

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Increasing the degree of effectiveness is every business’s main goal. To reach a high degree of development and customer satisfaction, a business should increase the value it offers while minimizing, for as much as it is possible, waste and loss.

This is where “Lean Thinking” comes into the scene. Lean Thinking, in spite of what it may sound, is a business method made to offer customers more value while utilizing the smallest amount of resources to get there.

As a business owner, you should be interested in learning the ways of Lean Thinking because it will teach you all about lean manufacturing. As you can tell, this means that you’ll reach the performance of having a better production while waste will be kept at the lowest point and resources used at maximum. So, what is lean thinking?

Lean Thinking is all about understanding what customer value is about and constantly working on improving it. The ultimate goal of this method is to reach perfect customer value while recording zero waste during the manufacturing process. This is why it is worth taking this method into consideration.

Lean Thinking can lead to more effective and profitable businesses

Instead of optimizing every step of the manufacturing process, like taking care of each technology and asset as an individuality, Lean Thinking focuses on improving the entire manufacturing flow. Thus, it shifts the management efforts into this direction, adjusting the quality throughout all the value streams that flow across every level of the manufacturing process.

The benefits of using this business model are numerous. Everything is made to work much more effectively than before. Instead of being removed along with certain points, waster, for instance, is eliminated along the way of the entire value stream.

This leads to processes that require less time, effort, and resources. In other words, the production of items and offering various services will be much more cost-effective and there are much lower risks for them to present defects. We recommend that you watch this video on lean manufacturing, its covers all these points that we’ll go over and shows you how its done in real life. The guy who is being interviewed is Paul Akers, an expert in all things lean, heres’ the video:

To implement the Lean Thinking method, you will need to become familiar with the 5 principles of lean manufacturing. So, here they are, together with comprehensible explanations.

  1. Defining the value

For what your customer is willing to pay? When people turn to a business, they will spend money on products and services if they are going to offer the value people are looking to get. So, do you know what this value is? For this, you must know the persona of your customers. You need to study your customer niche well and determine what’s the value that will make them want to spend money because they will enjoy life-improvements due to this value.

So, the first step that you need to complete is to define the value of your business. Unroll surveys, use questionnaires, go for analytics, take a closer look at demographics, and employ any method that will help you better outline the shape of your value. Once you find what customers see as valuable, you can move on to determining how they want a product or service to look like, and how much they are willing

  • Create a map for the value stream

The second step in implementing lean manufacturing is to map the value stream, once you know your value. How will you get to the value you just set? By creating a map, you will be able to identify the actions and processes that will lead your business to the set value.

Bear in mind to remove the actions that do not contribute to increasing the value your customers will enjoy. Such actions are seen as “waste” by this method. Of course, out of this “waste” actions, there are some that are necessary, in spite of the fact that they don’t add to the value. So, you should eliminate entirely those actions that are unnecessary and bring no value, in order to reduce waste from the process. By only opting for the necessary actions, those that contribute to the functioning of the process will help you keep waste to a minimum.

  • Come up with the right flow

A smooth flow is another important step that will allow you to enjoy lean manufacturing. This can be possible after removing the waste from the process, as mentioned earlier. When all the pure waste is gone, you need to make sure that the flow will run smoothly in a constant manner. This means that delays or interruptions should not be part of the process.

 You will have to make sure, with the help of certain actions, that the flow runs right. Leveling the workload existent in the process, determining the steps regarding production and reconfiguring them, coming up with departments that can cross-function, breaking down the necessary steps, and offering support to employees so that they gain various skills will be required for smoothening the process.

  • Establishing the pull

Do you know what generates the biggest amount of waste during the production process? While an inventory is considered necessary by many, it is also the one that is responsible for high levels of waste. Fortunately, a system based on a pull will minimize the inventory of a business, together with the items required by daily work processes, while making sure that everything runs smoothly with little resources.

 Simply put, a pull system will make sure that an adequate number of products are made, in sufficient quantities, at the right time for customers. So, you can forget about spending on inventory and products that are made but not sold. This way, you cut down costs, waste, and loss.

  • Aim for perfection

Once the flow and systems set in place and running, you will be able to focus on perfecting the entire manufacturing process. Even if you notice improvements, it is still possible to cut down waste even more and offer a higher degree of value to customers. This is possible if you work on perfecting the system you set in place.

So, this last step is considered also as being the most important. Constant improvement should be taken into account and implemented by every employee in your company. In other words, don’t stop learning as you go as a business and make sure there’s a collective effort deposited toward getting better bit by bit, day by day.