The 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing has many advantages and can drive your business to the next level. It allows a business to reduce cost, improve product quality, and increase its bottom line. Five principles of lean manufacturing that we’ll cover include — identifying value, improving flow, mapping the value stream, establishing pull, and striving for perfection. If you’re not sure what these principles mean, read on! Lean manufacturing is a multi-faceted and often complex process that companies can adopt to make meaningful improvements.

Identifying Value

One pillar of lean manufacturing is value. This approach begins by understanding the value that a customer places on a company’s products and services. Ultimately, the customer’s perceived value determines what he or she can and will pay for a product. Establishing value right away allows a company to create a target price starting from the top town. This, in turn, helps a company determine the necessary costs of production for its products and services. Adopting lean manufacturing through the use of lean systems such as EZ Build by C Tek, will focus on reducing waste while delivering higher quality products and improving profitability.

Improving Flow

Flow is imperative for eliminating waste. If the value stream gets impeded for any reason, flow is one of the first components to be affected. Ultimately, this creates waste. The goal of the lean manufacturing process is to create a value chain with little or no production process interruption. The goal is to create a harmonious state where every individual activity is fully synchronized with the next.

Value Stream Mapping

The value stream is a process designed to eliminate waste by visualizing the necessary elements of a process and eliminating unnecessary steps. It considers a product’s complete life cycle from start to finish based on usage of material goods. The value stream also accounts for a consumer’s use of a product and its eventual (and inevitable) disposal. Eliminating waste entails a full understanding of the value stream. Waste elimination is the ultimate goal of lean manufacturing. The value stream seeks to identify – and eliminate – three types of waste — excessive steps, steps that do not create value, and steps that may create value but are unavoidable at present.

Establishing Pull

The concept of “pull” is essentially one of demand. This facet ensures that nothing is produced ahead of time without demand, which in turn eliminates waste. Through the concept of “pull,” there is no build-up of inventory that allows for product distribution based on consumer demand. This approach is contrary to many business practices where a surplus of goods is created before consumer demand ever arises. By creating a small shortage of goods, pull creates flexibility and reduces waste by only producing products on demand. Creating a “pull” also creates an effective means of communication for establishing what is essential in every step of the value chain.

Striving for Perfection

Strive for perfection – the goal to reach perfection is one that ultimately never ends. Companies continuously seek to address the root cause of their problems to determine, step-by-step, what works and what needs improvement. The pursuit of perfection ultimately leads to a company digging deeper, creating more measurements and calculations, and adapting to change more easily and more readily than their competitors. The goal for perfection also inspires a company to work harder than its peers to create a superior product or service, unless it offers a novel amenity for consumers. Improving customer service and quality are the desired outcomes of lean manufacturing, and your adopting a continuous improvement mindset and culture will help your business adopt lean principals.

Lean manufacturing is a culture that enables companies to outperform their peers while reducing costs, improving customer service and product quality, and enhancing your standing as a preferred supplier. Ultimately, the goal is to create a happier, healthier, and more productive company that, in turn, benefits your customers and employees.