How to describe lean manufacturing to beginners

Lean manufacturing encompasses a variety of principles, but ultimately, the goal is to promote profit. Lean manufacturing is a method utilized by companies to continually reduce waste and improve their products. By incorporating lean principles and practices into their business philosophies, companies successfully save money, reduce waste, and improve their customer service. C Tek explains the advantage of lean so that beginners can understand how the principle applies to (and benefits) their company.


What is Lean?

Lean is the philosophy that businesses should do what they can to eliminate waste. Lean principles have been around for many years, and they include anything that helps a company get rid of wasteful products or practices. Lean principles were originally created by world-renowned automaker Toyota, which identified the elimination of three kinds of waste, including:


  • Overburdened workers
  • Non-value added work
  • Unevenness in productivity


Toyota developed the philosophy that all three of the factors above contributed to waste, and the more they can be eliminated, the more efficiently a business will run. Although it’s nearly impossible to completely reduce waste from a facility’s operations, the goal should ultimately be to continually reduce waste as much as possible.


Five Lean Principles

In order to effectively reduce waste production, lean manufacturing incorporates five main principles. Those principles include:


1. Identify Value

This first principle seeks to find the value that customers see in a product and the steps involved in creating that product.


2. Mapping Value Stream

Secondly, lean seeks to identify all the steps required in creating a product and eliminating any superfluous steps that do not ultimately provide value to the end customer.


3. Create Flow

A third principle of lean is to create flow, which refers to the fact that value-creating steps should be done sequentially so that the product moves from the company to the customer without a hitch.


4. Establish Pull

The next step in the lean principle is establishing pull. This step means that the customer should help move the product through the line from creation to production through continual demand. Value should be added at each step of the product’s production cycle.


5. Perfection

Finally, lean manufacturing strives for perfection. In order to create the “perfect” product, lean manufacturing identifies all the areas of a product’s production cycle that add value. Lean then looks for ways to further increase the product’s value by identifying and removing all steps that provide little or no value. This process is one that is generally revisited consistently to ensure a company continually improves its products and customer service.


For more information on the advantages of lean manufacturing, and for more advice on how beginners can learn and apply lean principles, the experts at C Tek are always happy to explain.