What is lean manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is said to be a form of continuous improvement and when a company adopts it, a full-time continuous improvement person must be identified within the company as well as a continuous improvement team must be formed.
The company will then bring in a recognised expert or a consultant to be able to map out the company's operation and help it identify specific areas for improvement.
Some Definition Of Terms
There are some terms that needs to be properly defined if a company wishes to learn what is a lean manufacturing process. The following are some of the terms that are used in lean manufacturing systems:
1. Value is anything that a prospective customer will be willing to buy or pay for. Therefore, what is a lean manufacturing process to a company if it does not provide the customer what he specifically needs.
2. Cellular manufacturing is the linking of machine and manual operations into the most effective combinations possible to be able to maximise certain value-added activities while at the same time minimising wastes. This is clearly what is lean manufacturing systems intends to do for the company.
A cell lay-out is typically U-shaped and uses only a one-piece flow.
3. The Kanban System is a pull system that utilises color-coded cards that are attached to parts or some part containers to be able to regulate the upstream production and also the delivery flow of the process. This is also what is lean manufacturing adopting for the company manufacturing processes.
4. The lean manufacturing is the process of analysis of the flow of information and materials in a manufacturing environment as well as continuously improving the system process to be able to achieve an enhanced value to the customer. What is lean manufacturing is trying to accomplish is the streamlining of existing manufacturing process in companies so as to improve its revenue gain.
5. When a lean manufacturing process identifies a non-value added, it will easily translate to a waste. A non-value added is any activity or process that do not add market form or function or is simply not necessary. These activities are targeted by lean manufacturing processes to be able to be eliminated, terminated or simply reduced.
This is exactly what is lean manufacturing is trying to do, reduce if not eliminate unwanted processes or activities that translate to waste.
6. Pull system is the method of controlling and managing the flow of resources by replacing only the goods that has been depleted. They are therefore replenished. What is lean manufacturing process is trying to do is to make a systemised process of replenishment and depletion in inventories.
7. Push system is the method by which resources of the company is made available to the customer by using surveys and forecasting or much better by schedules. What is lean manufacturing pushing for, however, is that the push system be disregarded.
8. Takt time is the demand rate of a customer. Takt time aims to set the pace or rhythm of production of goods to be able to match the demand rate of customers. The takt time is the heartbeat of any lean manufacturing system. What is lean manufacturing observing is the calculation of this takt time.
The calculation of takt time is made by dividing the work time that is available by the total number of units that are sold.
9. The value added is any activity that hopes to increase the form of the market or the function of the product and service. This value added is basically the value that was discussed in number one. What lean manufacturing is trying to do is to guide manufacturing companies into putting all their focus and energies towards a good of particular value to the customer.
In the end, what lean manufacturing is aiming to complete is the over all improvement of the company manufacturing process. The company manufacturing process has always been part of an important industry that deserves to be continuously improved upon. Therefore, the last theme of a lean manufacturing system is continuous improvement. The lean manufacturing system has been an inspiration to other parts of company processes as well.