Did You Check These Real-life Lean Manufacturing Examples?

Bhagyashri Kambale | March 29, 2022 | 444 views
LEAN MANUFACTURING
The lean manufacturing process is the most time-tested, dependable, and proven method of manufacturing. It has helped numerous notable firms worldwide to reduce production waste and optimize their overall manufacturing operations. Many lean tools, such as 5S lean manufacturing, JIT, and Kanban, have helped manufacturers be more productive and efficient than ever before.

“Lean is a way of thinking, not a list of things to do.”

– Shigeo Shingo, a Japanese Industrial Engineer

In 2014, 29% of manufacturers had implemented lean manufacturing or intended to do so. (Source: MAXIML)

This article highlights lean manufacturing principles and the most commonly used lean tools. We will also look into the three lean manufacturing examples that will help us understand how lean manufacturing techniques may help manufacturing organizations become more successful.


Lean Manufacturing Principles


Value

Value is always determined in terms of the customer's requirements for a particular product. For instance, what is the manufacturing and delivery schedule? What is the cost? What more critical requirements or expectations must be met? This information is vital when it comes to defining value.


Value Stream

The next step after value is to map the "value stream," or all the steps and processes involved in creating a given product, from raw materials to delivery to the client. Value-stream mapping outlines all the steps that move a product or service through a process. Processes might be in design or customer service. The objective is to "map" the movement of material or product through the process on one sheet. The purpose is to identify and eliminate unwanted steps. Some call it process re-engineering. This practice also helps to understand the entire business function.


Flow

After removing waste from the value stream, the next step is to ensure there are no interruptions, delays, or bottlenecks. "Sequence the value-creating steps closely so the product or service flows smoothly toward the customer," LEI suggests. This may require breaking down silo thinking and becoming cross-functional across all departments, which can be difficult for lean projects to accomplish. However, studies indicate that this can significantly improve efficiency and productivity, often by up to 50%.


Pull

With better flow, the time it takes to get a product to market (or to the customer) can be greatly reduced. As a result, "just in time" manufacturing or delivery becomes simpler. This means that the consumer has the ability to "pull" the product from you at any time (often in weeks instead of months). As a result, the manufacturer or provider and the client save money by not having to build things or store resources in advance.


Perfection

Developing lean thinking and process optimization part of your organizational culture is the most crucial step. Remember that lean is not a static system that takes continual effort and care to perfect. Lean should be implemented by all employees. Experts claim a process is not fully lean until it has been value-stream mapped a dozen times.


The Most Used Lean Manufacturing Tools

Lean manufacturing employs a variety of lean tools to optimize output and efficiency by making the most use of available resources. Lean manufacturing seeks to improve processes by demanding less work, time, and resources. Specific lean tools may be more suited to one type of business than another. On the other hand, 5S lean manufacturing, Kaizen, Kanban, Value Stream Mapping, and Focus PDCA are among the most useful lean tools.


Three Examples of Lean Manufacturing


Toyota

Toyota was the first big company to adopt the lean manufacturing process. They have mastered lean manufacturing techniques to minimize defective products that do not meet client expectations. Toyota achieves this goal through two key methods. The first is Jidoka, which means "mechanization with human assistance." While some portions of the operation are automated, humans regularly examine the product's quality. There are extra programs in the system that can shut down the machines if there is a problem.

The second method is called the JIT model. Individual cars can be made as per order using JIT inside the Toyota Production System, but each component must fit precisely the first time due to a lack of alternatives. Therefore, pre-existing production issues cannot be overlooked and resolved quickly.


Intel

Computer chip maker Intel implemented lean manufacturing techniques to produce better products with zero defects. This approach has helped to minimize the manufacturing time from three months to ten days. Intel eventually learned that manufacturing low-quality things would not enhance earnings or customer satisfaction. Instead, both parties gain from quality control and waste reduction methods. This is especially true in the electronics business, where products are constantly updated.


John Deere

John Deere has implemented a lean manufacturing process. Many of their quality control techniques are completely automated, allowing for faster inspection of more parts. This means more products flow out of the door each day, and the consumer gets a better deal. These controls also monitor how each part of their products is made, so they don't overproduce and waste valuable resources.


Final Word

Being successful with lean manufacturing techniques is a notable achievement for any organization because it involves eliminating redundant efforts, finances, and processes that have hindered your business's growth for an extended period. Recognize your business requirements and select the appropriate lean tool. Ultimately, lean is not just a method; it is an attitude that every manufacturing organization must adopt.


FAQ


What is the objective of lean manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing aims to improve product quality, cut down on waste, speed up production, and save money.


What are the drawbacks to lean production?

Using lean techniques reduces the error margin. Late supply deliveries can lead to shortages of raw materials and delayed deliveries. This flaw can damage client relationships, drive customers to competitors, and cost you money.


Is lean still applicable today?

Lean manufacturing is relevant now and will be for years to come. So, this might be an exciting opportunity for lean manufacturing to evolve in a new space with new resources.

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