About Lean Manufacturing

What is Lean?

The philosophy of Lean (lean manufacturing, lean company) is building on the basic concept that all activities that do not are not leading to a creation of a value to the customers are wastefull and as such need to be eliminated...

People and Milestones

  • 1790 - Eli Whitney brings a concept of inter-changeable components
  • 1890 - Frederick W. Taylor studied the individual steps of the 'production process'
  • 1910 - Henry Ford uses production lines and starts the mass production
  • 1930 - Alfred P. Sloan (General Motors) - creation of the strategy for managing product mix and customer specific customization
  • 1950 - Taiichi Ohno (Toyota) - creates the basis of just-in-time, comes up with the revolutionary tools of materials management
  • 1990 - James Womack publishes "Machine that changed the world" and defines the foundations of Lean Manufacturing.

Basic Concepts

1. Value adding (VA), Non-value adding (NVA) work

  • Only those activities that meet the 3 basic criteria can be considered Value adding:
  • customer is willing to pay for the activity
  • the activity physically changes the product or the information necessary for production
  • the activity is performed 'First time right'

2. Production flow and Waste elimination

The processes need to be set up in a way so that the products spend the maximum time in VA activities and the minimum in NVA.This can be achieved through elimination of the 7 sources of waste:

  • Defects
  • Overproduction
  • Transport
  • Waiting
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Processing

3. Employees engagement and continuous improvement

To engage employees is critical from multiple reasons. The people involved in planning and implementation will be more likely to adopt and support the changes. Moreover, the real experts on every task are most often the people who perform the actual job.

No process can be set up perfect in one go so that no improvement or modification will ever be required. Only by reaching the changed state you will be able to see the next possible improvements.

Organizations that manage to institutionalize improvements as a normal way of everyday life are in the best position for a long term success.

Where can Lean be applied?

Lean tools and principles can successfully be used in all types of production and services companies and institutions.

Want to learn more?

check our offer of trainings and workshops or reach out to us directly.