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What is lean manufacturing and how does it impact production? The Remke Blog has your Answers

What is Lean Manufacturing?

Remke is Getting “Lean”

As operational costs continue to rise for many manufacturers, you may hear the term lean production being used more and more often, but what does it mean?

Lean production: a systematic method for the elimination of waste within manufacturing systems.

Clear? Not quite – let’s talk about it.

Goal of Lean Production

The goal behind lean production is maximizing value, value being described as any action of process that customers are willing to pay for. In other words, achieving the best quality products, at the lowest cost, with the fastest production time, in a safe environment.

Eliminating Waste

Many lean principals are derived from the Japanese manufacturing system, namely Toyota. Eliminating waste requires a company to take away anything that does not add value to the production or service they are providing.

Toyota identified seven types of manufacturing waste, best remembered using the acronym TIMWOOD.

Transportation (unnecessary movement of people or parts)
Inventory (unnecessary storage of materials)
Motion (unnecessary movement of people or parts within a process)
Waiting (people or part waiting for a process to be completed)
Over processing (problems arising from poor design of the process chain)
Overproduction (processing more than what’s needed)
Defective (products not meeting quality requirements)

Just in Time Production

A lean approach to manufacturing relies on a “Just in Time” mentality, or the idea of reducing inventory waste through the minimization of stock. In this manner, products are produced just in time to meet orders. Companies that function from a just in time production approach are generally more flexible and agile, able to react quickly to changes in demand without dealing with a complete disruption in the production line.

These are the initial, or major tenants behind lean production or lean manufacturing. This is, of course, just the tip of the ice berg though.

This website has a wealth of material and resources geared towards better understanding the principles behind lean production and the tools available today that make it easier and more efficient to implement. Also check out “Top 25 Lean Tools” to dig into the nitty gritty behind this historically effective manufacturing philosophy.

Does your company use lean manufacturing? How so? What success have your experienced as a result? We would love to learn more from you, please comment below!

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