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5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

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The founders of the Lean Enterprise Institute and the Lean Enterprise Academy, James Womack and Dan Jones, wrote, “Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation.” The book is considered to be the bible of Lean Manufacturing, written from their in-depth study of the Toyota Production System. Lean principles focus on eliminating waste in the enterprise.

7 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing

Seven Wastes of Lean

As we’ve mentioned before the 7 Wastes of Lean include: 

  • Overproduction – Manufacturing an item before it is required instead of manufacturing Just in Time.
  • Waiting - Much of a product’s lead time is tied up in waiting for the next operation; this is usually because material flow is poor, production runs are too long, and distances between work centers are too great. 
  • Transport – Excessive movement and handling add costs and time to material handling processes. Reducing transport time to move an item from one place to another leads to Lean thinking. 
  • Over-processing – Spending time on a product feature that does not impact functionality leads to excessive processing. Over-processing can also be attributed to using more expensive equipment when simpler machinery can be used to do the same thing. 
  • Excess inventory - Takes up space and eats into working capital. A seamless flow between work centers helps to slash inventory and work in progress. 
  • Excess Motion – Reducing bending, reaching, lifting, and walking can reduce wasted motion. 
  • Defects – Quality defects result in rework or scrap, adding costs to the manufacturing process. 

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Five Principles of Lean Manufacturing

The book Lean Thinking details five Lean manufacturing principles: value, value streams, flow, pull, and perfection. Each of these principles is described more in-depth below:

5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Value - Eliminating waste allows manufacturers to deliver value to customers.

Value Stream - If the value stream stops moving forward at any point, waste is the inevitable by-product. The lean manufacturing principle of flow is about creating a value chain with no interruption in the production process and a state where each activity is fully in step with every other.

Flow – Per Lean Thinking, “Understanding workflow is essential to the elimination of waste when following lean manufacturing methodologies. If the value stream stops moving forward at any point, waste is the inevitable by-product. The lean manufacturing principle of flow is about creating a value chain with no interruption in the production process and a state where each activity is fully in step with every other.”

Pull – In Lean Manufacturing, workflow is precise, making sure things are made just in time at the right time in the right amount. Lean Manufacturing eliminates the traditional manufacturing approach of producing products based on forecast and replaces it with a pull approach that dictates nothing is made until the customer orders it. Flexibility is required along with short delivery cycle times for success. 

Perfection – The Lean Manufacturing Approach strives for perfection, minimizing defects and waste. As products are made, the pursuit of perfection continues, making for continuous improvements along each step of the process. 

 
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Posted by: M Scelfo