Lean Manufacturing

Henry Ford was the first person to develop the ideas behind Lean Manufacturing. He used the idea of continuous workflow on the assembly line for his ford Model-T car, where he designed stringent production standards, so each stage of the process were perfectly aligned with each other stage. This resulted in avoiding large waste. But it wasn't flexible because the assembly lines produced the same thing, again and again, and the process didn't easily allow for any customization or changes to the end product it produced only the Model T in assembly line. Since it is a push process, this led to huge inventories of unsold automobiles, ultimately resulting in lock in working capital and lots of money wasted. Even other manufacturers began to use Ford's ideas, but because of the inflexibility in production system it failed. At last, Taiichi Ohno of Toyota then developed the Toyota Production System (TPS), which used Just In Time and many more techniques in manufacturing process to increase efficiency. Toyota used this process successfully and achieved a milestone as one of the most profitable and successful manufacturing companies in the world.

The core function behind Lean manufacturing is to add more value to the products or service offered to Customers at a significantly lower price by reducing waste. To achieve this milestone lean manufacturing is to be completely aligned with Company production system. Lean Manufacturing has endeavoured to justify production by avoiding waste in the production process as much as possible, building quality into the process, costs reduction and productivity and process improvements. There are three basic goals of lean manufacturing which are as follows:

Cost Reduction by Elimination of Waste:
Avoiding waste completely is not possible but we can reduce it by constant efforts which lead to cost reduction. It can be achieved by completely producing what customer actually demands for a product instead of going for continuous and excessive production exceeding the demand. One of the objectives of Lean Manufacturing is to identify waste significantly in each and every process and then eliminate them. It is possible to avoid a very large amount of waste by observing men, machine, materials and managing process in the actual production line. Some types of waste are unavoidable, but others are hidden. Waste never creates value; it actually increases cost.

Creating working Conditions to Ensure Product Quality:
To produce a high-quality product in any manufacturing company, equipment involved should not fail or give trouble during manufacturing process and must not allow the operator to do errors. Lean manufacturing has developed numerous ways to support this commitment by building the quality in each and every process. This principle creates responsibility on each operator on thorough inspection of quality at every stage of work within the process. Lean manufacturing brings product inspection directly into the process so that defects are extracted at that point and will not allow defective products to the following process. If the manufacturing equipment is defective or functions abnormally, either the machine by itself or some system should be able to detect the problem and stop operation immediately. Lean manufacturing uses fool proof technology to ensure that the defect in quality should not occur also makes it easier to maintain quality.

Creating Work Site keeping Operators in Mind:
If the labour spend on a product increases the product’s value, then that labour is of great value because it is effective. Lean manufacturing ensures that all labour involved in the product process had been effectively used to enhance the value of the products. In this case, the equipment involved in manufacturing process is given importance and the operator’s mere expansion of the machine. Mutual support is essential, the employee who is performing the job has the leading role to perform his work and improve the efficiency of the whole production process. In Lean Manufacturing, if the Operator found some problem in the work for which he is responsible, he or she is permitted to stop the production line depending on the severity of the problem. Lean manufacturing creates a work site, where every employee can show and prove his own ability, and anyone can propose kaizen for work problems.

Tools to Reduce Waste
Once we have identified wastes in the work flow, it had to be fixed by applying next set of tools which help you reduce waste further. Here we have discussed few tools for your reference.

It is an organized approach of housekeeping which ensures that tools, parts and other objects are in kept in known and optimum locations. It will help by reducing wasted time for searching of tools and also avoid movement from one place to another.

It is a Japanese word for continuous improvement. KAI means change and ZEN means good. In the context of Lean Manufacturing, it is denoted as slow continuous improvement. One of the important features of kaizen is that big results arrived from many small changes accumulated over time.

It starts with the customer’s order and then follows production downstream. It is a card with an inventory number that’s attached to each part. Once the part is installed the kanban card is removed and sent up the supply chain as a request for another part. In a lean manufacturing, a part is only manufactured if there is a kanban card for it which means the production starts only after customer order. It is called as pull system.

It is a workflow diagram to display a clear understanding of a process. It aims at making processes more transparent and efficient. It ensures that our equipment and workers were optimally used and utilized effectively.

It is a methodology of seeking continuous improvement in customer satisfaction and profit using data and statistics. To achieve Six Sigma, our designed production system must not make more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. It Improve quality, operational performance, practices and systems.