Lean manufacturing or lean production refers to a series of methods, philosophies and tools to minimize waste within your business and maximize production. The idea of this process improvement is to identify and remove all forms of waste from a process in order to increase efficiency, reduce costs and provide customer value.
The history of lean manufacturing is traced back to the early years of Toyota and the development of the Toyota production system in WWII; when the company was looking for a way to compete in the US car industry through developing and implementing a range of low cost improvements within their business.
There are 8 different types of wastes that have been identified through lean thinking, and they can easily be remembered using the acronym DOWN TIME:
By removing as of much of these 8 wastes as possible, companies often experience benefits, including:
Increased Profits - Due to lower overhead and better utilization of time and resources
Increase in Satisfied Customers - Your customers will appreciate your ability to deliver higher quality products, more affordably and quicker.
Improved Operational Performance - By streamlining and automating your business processes, overall operational performance is generally improved.
Lower Risks - Your product quality improves through using the lean principles, resulting in lower risks.