What is Lean?

Lean is an attitude (mind set) of people, lean’s center of attention is on eliminating waste or muda, which make a payment to add cost but doesn’t contribute to add value (in customer view). Lean thinking derived in automotive industries but in this day and age lean is adopted all over. The misapprehension of people changed in the past two decades and applied the lean principles to non-automobile companies also. Lean is fruitfully applied in high mix industries (like satellite, aerospace, and shipbuilding), high volume industries (like micro processor manufacturing, automobile), service sectors (like hospitals, hotels, administrative services, banking and financing), Product development and Engineering design etc.

Lean identifies the waste, and eliminates them to construct more with less. In a representative manufacturing process the value adding activities are no more than 5% only. The non-value adding activities take account of
1.Motion,
2.Waiting,
3.Transportation,
4.Correction,
5.Over-processing,
6.Over-production,
7.Inventory,
8.Knowledge Disconnection.

There may be necessary non-value adding activities which should be minimized and non- value adding activities that be supposed to be eliminated. These muda can be recognized in every process. By doing only what is needed and only when it is needed makes the processes more valuable and competent.

TPS House

TPS House

Lean concept instigated with the Toyota Production System (TPS) [Figure 1 shows TPS House]. TPS apply many tools and methods for identification and elimination of non-value adding activities .The lean thinking has 5 steps [1] they are
Specify value,
identify value stream,
Flow,
Pull,
Perfection.

In spite of everything, the very significant factor is contribution of all the people within the organization, related functions, processes, the suppliers, distributors and the customers for identifying and eliminating the non-value adding activities.

References:
[1] Womack, J.P. and Jones. “Lean Thinking”. London : Simon & Schuster, 2003.
[2] Unknown. “TPS – Toyota Production System or Thinking People System”. www.gemba.com. [Online] [Cited: October 15, 2008.] http://www.gemba.com/consulting.cfm?id=144.

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