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Lean Manufacturing Articles


Lean manufacturing started with Henry Ford, who not only concentrated on material flow by linking manufacturing operations, but understood that, "Having a stock of raw materials or finished goods in excess of re­quirements is waste." He prevented the storage of ma­terial in any stage of completion by not having a single warehouse. After World War II, Taiichi Ohno and asso­ciates, including Shigeo Shingo, built on Henry Ford's ideas and developed the Toyota Production System, described as "a reasonable method of making products since it completely eliminates unnecessary elements in production for the purpose of cost reduction. The basic idea in such a production system is to produce the kind of units needed, at the time needed, and in the quanti­ties needed." Toyota focused on reducing cost, and on developing continuous flow for low-volume production. Lean manufacturing puts an increased emphasis on adding value. In a mature, lean manufacturing environ­ment, product is pulled through value-added operations to meet customer demand on time, in exact quantities, and with perfect quality. The elimination of waste and continuous improvement in every aspect of the business are core elements of lean manufacturing. With the effective adoption of lean manufacturing, lean concepts come together in an integrated set of capabilities that become the foundation for the steps to success.


Step One to lean manufacturing success begins with the company's leadership establishing a mission or a state­ment of "what are we here to do together." The mission of a company that supplies audio systems to automotive OEMs is to "continually exceed the require­ments of each customer in the most efficient and cost-effective manner." This customer-focused statement is supported with a vision statement of "Compelling Au­tomotive Entertainment." The company made it clear that it would "not compromise its commitment to cus­tomer satisfaction, employee growth and involvement, quality leadership, supplier co-destiny, and integrity." A customer focus along with clear and visible quality values and standards must be established and sustained throughout an organization. In this environment, per­formance improvement metrics, trends, targets, and action plans align with the lean manufacturing concepts and are part of the business plan. Employees know that quality parts must be shipped on time and in precise quantities so that their customers can meet require­ments. Employees have access to information, resources, and support necessary to meet or exceed customer ex­pectations related to quality, cost, delivery performance, and agility (the ability to quickly respond to customer required changes in design or demand). They understand that each customer expects world class quality, and glo­bal competition continually raises the standard.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 14

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