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Manufacturing production methods

When it comes to manufacturing there are a few different types of production methods.Lean manufacturing or lean production is one of the most popular production methods in manufacturing today.This article will give you a better idea of what lean production is and why it's so popular among the manufacturing business.

Lean manufacturing or lean production, sometimes also known as "Lean" is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful.The main target for lean production is to eliminate waste.Basically lean production is the attempt to create greater value with less work.It first came about through the Toyota Production System or TPS and was identified as lean in the 1990's.

Lean manufacturing is most widely known for its seven wastes in order to improve customer value.One of the key steps in Lean and TPS is the identification of which of these steps will add value and which will not.The following seven points identify and classify seven resources which are commonly wasted in the manufacturing business:

  • Rework- quality defects prevent the customers from accepting the defected product.
  • Overproduction- this happens each time you engage more resources than needed to deliver your customer.
  • Conveyance- each time you move a product there is a risk of it being damaged, lost, or delayed.
  • Waiting- refers to both the time spent by the workers waiting for resources to arrive, the queue for the products to empty, and the capital sunk in goods and services not yet delivered to the customer.
  • Inventory- a capital outlay that has not yet produced an income.
  • Motion- refers to the producer or worker or equipment.
  • Overprocessing- using a more expensive or otherwise valuable resource than is need for the task.

Lean manufacturing is a variation on the theme of efficiency.The ultimate goal is to increase efficiency, decrease waster, and use empirical methods to decide what matters.

History of Lean production

Lean principles come form the Japanese manufacturing industry.The term was first coined by John Krafcik in 1988.He was a quality engineer in the Toyota-GM NUMMI joint venture in California before coming to MIT for MBA studies.For many manufacturers Lean is the set of tools that assist in the identification of steady elimination of waste.And as you eliminate that waste the quality improves while reducing cost and production time.

The second approach to lean manufacturing is with a focus on improving the "flow" of smoothness of work and steadily eliminating unevenness and not upon waste production so much.It is fundamentally different to most improvement methodologies which is why it lacks popularity among many.The difference between the two is mainly the approach to achieving the end result.

The TPS has two concepts; Just in time or JIT or "flow" and "automation."Lean implementation is focused on getting the right things, to the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity to achieve perfect work flow while minimizing waste and being flexible to change. Lean also aims to make the work simple enough to understand, to do and to manage.

Of course Lean manufacturing is just one manufacturing method out there.You should always do your own homework before deciding what will work best for your company.

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