lean manufacturing concepts explained

Lean manufacturing technique

Prime objective of waste elimination from the system is achieved with lean manufacturing technique and all tools. Based on this requirement, Just In Time (JIT) techniques, Total Quality Management (TQM), Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Flow charts, Workplace Redesigning techniques are used.

Basically, lean manufacturing technique consists of four steps. First step is to realize that there are wastes in the system to be removed. Although this seems like a crazy idea, this is the step which creates the requirement for the movement towards lean manufacturing. Many organizations do not realize that they have tons of hidden wastes with them. Therefore they do not have the requirement to remove them from the system. So they will have their problems forever and they will try to find solutions for these problems forever.

Once you realize that there are wastes to be removed from the system, in the second step, you will identify the different forms of that waste. Further, in this step you will identify the causes for these wastes. This is very important step in the process. Lean manufacturing never promotes treating the symptoms. Rather it believes treating the causes and cures the problems permanently. In this step tools like Ishikawa diagrams or cause and effect diagrams can be used for good effect.

In the third step, comes the solution finding for the identified root causes. One golden rule to be followed in this step is adhering to the basic lean manufacturing principle of seeing the total picture. Do not find solutions by only looking at causes on their surface. It is very important to identify the solution. It is even more important to identify the effect of the solution to the entire system. For an example if you are trying to reduce the line down time, it is very important to make sure the solution is not going to increase the lot sizes heavily and make the net effect on the organization a negative.

Final step is the implementation process and making sure things are going in the intended way. Here the solutions will be tested and implemented. Then these solutions will be tweaked to accommodate practical difficulties occur in the implementation process. User training and follow-up are among the most important things in this step of lean manufacturing technique. This step generally takes long time.

In each and every step mentioned above, many tools will be used to achieve the goals of each step. Make sure to look at the entirety, not a part of the problem. Solution you find must have a positive effect on the entire system.

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