Lean Production: an overview
What is Lean Production?
The Lean Production method is from the Japanese Automotive manufacturer and the most successful Toyota production system (TPS). The term Lean Production was introduced by James Womack in his book “The Machine that changed the world”. The sole concept of TPS is to improve the productivity by reducing the waste. Lean principle is a continuous improvement process benefiting from every small gradual change rather than implementing a sudden change which could disrupt the work flow.
Lean production focuses on optimizing the manufacturing system by eliminating the wastes that are or could hinder the production process. The process or times that do not add value to the customers are called waste. Now, how to identify these wastes? The TPS have already formulated the seven types of waste that are affecting the productivity process.
1. Transport: Material movement from Raw material to finished Product
2. Inventory: Piling up Raw material for production rather than pull production
3. Motion: Employer and machine movement
4. Waiting: Time between the production steps from one process to another
5. Over production: Producing beyond the customer demands
6. Over processing: working on the Product too much
7. Defect: Production error and repairs
Eliminating Waste and Improving productivity
And next, JIT was formulated by Mr. Talichi ohno as the idea to reduce the inventory waste thereby improving the production. In order to get a clear view on JIT it is necessary to understand about the Takt time. Takt time is the maximum time available for producing the product. For example if a customer wants 100 units in 2 days (2*24*60), then the maximum time available for producing a single product is 28.8 minutes. In order to achieve the Takt time, JIT is used for eliminating the waiting time before and after producing the product by following the one-piece flow method.
Lean production is now widely implemented across all the top companies like Ford, Jaguar knowing the impact that Lean can bring to the Industry. Implementing Lean production is very important for startups because with Lean the Industry can achieve higher Productivity with less scrap, low Inventory, can use the employees to the fuller extent, manufacturing time can be saved, safety of operations and mainly it helps train the workers which again brings success to the industry in the longer run.