Lean is all about creating value for customers. In the lean manufacturing model it is first identified what the customers perceive as value. The entire focus is then shifted toward providing this value to the customers.. Everything else is considered as waste and they are eliminated gradually. The lean manufacturing method was made famous by Toyota and is now followed worldwide. In the USA there is huge adoption of this manufacturing model and it traverses industries and businesses.
The lean manufacturing method, much like six sigma, follows specific steps. This is how the value proposition is focused on while eliminating waste. There is a lot of work that goes into identifying the values for which customers would be willing to pay money. Now processes and steps have to be defined to create that value. Any other process or step needs to be considered as waste. The next focus is to make the processes and steps flow in a continuous manner by creating a tight sequence. A pull structure is put into place so that all the steps are introduced to each other and the continuous flow is made possible.
The lean manufacturing model has its first end when the value stream is focused on by eliminating the waste processes. However, there is no end to the model once it starts. It continues on and on where the process continuously improves until it reaches a state of perfection. The ideal situation is perfect value add to the customers with no wastes involved. But this, of course, takes time and some companies don’t even reach it ever.
Toyota made the lean manufacturing model famous throughout the world. In Toyota the focus is on smooth operations while eliminating mura or unevenness. There are various techniques adopted to ensure that the value add process runs smoothly – kanban for pull production, production leveling and through the use of the Heijunka Box.
How do you introduce the lean manufacturing model? Well, first you need to identify where you need to use the lean manufacturing method. But this is easier said than done and hence, the requirement for experts is a necessity. One of the most economic ways of this is to identify some employees in your organization to go through lean training. They will learn the theories associated with lean and participate in various lean projects. Once they are certified they can undertake lean projects in the organization.
The lean manufacturing model is followed in the most well known companies in the USA and the rest of the world. The lean manufacturing method made Toyota the largest carmaker in the world and it is easy to believe that it works. It worked for Toyota, it has worked some of the other successful companies and it continues to work for many companies in North America. If you are thinking of lean then the thought is commendable. All you need to do is take expert assistance. And there are experts available to give your employees lean certification affordably.