5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing
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.
Seven Wastes of Lean Manufacturing
The essence of lean manufacturing is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. By creating more value for customers with fewer resources, manufacturers can improve profits and even increase worker safety with the right processes in place.
As we’ve mentioned before the 7 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing 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:
2. 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.
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.”
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.
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.
Implement Lean Manufacturing with UNEX
Manufacturers and distributors need to remove all elements of waste within their processes in order to fuel growth. Unex offers space optimization and ordering picking solutions that can help operations minimize waste and maxmize space utilization.
For example, many order pickers have to walk up and down aisles for hours a day, equating to several miles a day. Placing products closer to pickers on storage shelves or using carton flow systems like UNEX's Span-Track can help condense storage and allow workers to pick more items from a much smaller area. This can drastically reduce transport wastes.
UNEX space optimization products help manufacturers implement and maintain Lean Manufacturing practices for safer, cleaner, more productive workplaces. Talk to our space optimization and order picking experts to learn how UNEX products can help you reduce waste, improve productivity, enhance safety, and maximize cost savings.