Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is defined as a systematic approach to reduce and eliminate waste in the assemble line at the time of manufacturing products. It involves continuous improvementwith the help of process reviews to reduce costs by means of doing it right at the first time. The basic principles of lean company will be.

  • Less processing time
  • Zero waiting time
  • Zero inventory
  • lean manufacturing goal is to reduce or eliminate the wastes of the following items:
  • Underutilized workforce
  • More processing time
  • Over production
  • Inventory
  • Transportation delays
  • Product/material defects
  • Space
  • Moneyetc.,

In simple words, lean manufacturing eliminates waste by means of identifying non-value added activities which leads to poor product quality in the production process that will not be able to meet the customer's expectations in the market place.

The following are the activities lead to poor qualities in lean production processes such as:

  • Material loss due to damage in transportation
  • Reduplication of work handled
  • Loss in storage
  • Breakdowns of machines
  • Loss in inspection
  • Lack of process capability and inefficiencies
  • Processing time loss
  • Lack of communication among different operators under shift systems etc.,


  • Year 1850 - Eli Whitney -Interchangeable Parts
  • Year 1870 - Modern Machine Tool Development - Frederick Taylor
  • Year 1900 - Frank Gilbreth - Process Charts/Motion Study
  • Year 1920 - Henry Ford- Assemble lines, Flow Lines & Manufacturing Strategy
  • Year 1940 - Edwards Deming, Juran - Statistical Process- Quality Management
  • Year 1950 - Eiji Toyoda, Taichi Ono, Toyota Production System Just-In-Time
  • Year 1999 - Lean Manufacturing

Components in lean manufacturing :

lean manufacturing namely have five components :

Production/assemble line tools that balance the daily production time with respect to demand

Gantt chartprovides the allocation of tasks among the operators and has a provision to document works and inspection involved in the assembly line

Kanban - order cardthat follows the pull system of material replenishment and contact with suppliers to refill the actual demand of the materials required from the suppliers

Demand smoothing tool that helps the production managers to predict the daily production based on the customer demand in match with the suitable resources being needed at the production line

Maintain proper inventory level so finished goods in the warehouse

Lean Manufacturing Challenges :

possible challenges being faced in lean manufacturing environment such as:

  • Systems integration issues during ERP/MRP implementation
  • Poor inventory level
  • Untimely shipments
  • Material rejections from the supplier end
  • Production issues
  • Rework
  • Customer returns
  • Warranty issues
  • In appropriate lean manufacturing systems implemented
  • In efficiency in scheduling

Benefits of lean manufacturing :

The potential benefits of lean manufacturing :

  • Defect reduction in products
  • Better on time delivery
  • Reduction in manufacturing floor space
  • Better inventory turn over
  • Better improvement in supplier relationship

Lean Office:

Since lean has its deep roots in manufacturing sector, but its importance been highlighted in different type of organizations and industries.

Globally, the presence of service sector is at rapid pace, the importance and application of lean principles in those service industries has been successful in achieving the following

  • Reducing materials waste
  • Utilizing employee productive hours
  • Maximizing output efforts

There are potential benefits of running a office with lean principles. This quality management toolhas playing a vital role to improve the employee efficiency and cost effectiveness factors. The following are the key improvements in running a .

  • Better efficiency
  • Process simplification
  • Cost reduction leads to cost savings
  • Better customer relationship and response
  • Standardizing the relevant procedures to run a office
  • Knowledge enhancement
  • Reduction in waste
Case Study - Toyota Production Systems - Lean manufacturing:

Lean is a quality management tool that has been developed by Toyota for its production of cars worldwide. It has developed the concept of Lean at the start of the 20th century and focused on a tool based approach to reduce and eliminate waste in the production processes. Toyota Production System (TPS) has followed and implemented Lean concept which made Toyota to be the world's largest car makers from a small car maker in a short run.

Lean implementation in TPS has realized the following benefits:

  • Enhance the customer value
  • Identification and reduction of waste in value chain process
  • Quality is improved
  • Improvement in production time
  • Cost savings
  • Continuous improvement to achieve perfection consistently
  • Employee involvement and empowerment