Although Lean defined Toyota Production System (TPS) in 1940s, with time, Lean has been extended to other manufacturing verticals such as- electronics, cement, construction, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals, personal products, engineering etc.
The best part about Lean is that, Lean brings in a 3:1 rate of returns for any organization regardless of industry sector, that implements Lean correctly.
- Focus on customer: Lean is based on Voice of Customer (VOC). If a step doesn’t add value to a company’s product or service from the customer’s point of view, LEAN strips it out.
- Eliminating waste: Traditional Lean weeded out 7 types of waste- Over-production, Over-processing, Defects, Delays, Unnecessary movement, Unutilized resources, Unnecessary inventory. With time, Lean philosophy has under gone changes too, that is changes for the better. Present day LEAN methodology eliminates 14 different types of waste.
- Just-in-time (JIT) attitude. Producing anything in anticipation of customer needs is a waste as per Lean philosophy. Instead you produce only when there are orders in hand as in Kanban's pull approach.
- LEAN works with ‘pull’ system Vs ‘push’ system.
- Visual representation: Lean uses Value Stream Maps to visually draw out processes and Visual Management to execute and sustain benefits of LEAN processes.
LEAN can be implemented by Manufacturing as well as Service based companies.
LEAN is best for incremental improvements, organizations that focus on their people and culture, companies that want a less mathematical and more flexible approach than Six Sigma. But you can strive for a break-through Six Sigma improvement by eliminating waste Lean-style.
In the next part of this article series I shall discuss another time-tested business improvement methodology; TQM
- Business Turnaround and Continuous Improvement Tips and Tricks Part 1 of 6
- Business Turnaround and Continuous Improvement Tips and Tricks- Part 2 of 6: Six Sigma in a Nutshell
- Business Turnaround and Continuous Improvement Tips & Tricks Part 3 of 6- Agile in Nutshell for Improving Sales & Marketing of Products and Services
- Business Turnaround and Continuous Improvement Tips & Tricks Part 5 of 6: TQM in a Nutshell
- Business Turnaround and Continuous Improvement Tips & Tricks Part 6 of 6 : Balanced Score Card
- Continuous Improvement for Human Resources (HR) department via Lean and Kaizen
- Lean Manufacturing in Food, Drug, Cosmetics & Chemical Industry
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