First, let’s start with a short history of lean manufacturing. The first of people who developed this idea of lean manufacturing was Hendry Ford. He was using the idea of continuous flow for a model T automobile. The production standards were tremendously tight, so every stage of the process shaped together with each other stage, perfectly. Little waste was the result. The other manufacturers began to use these ideas of Ford, but most of them realized that the inflexibility was a problem. Taiichi Ohno of Toyota developed the Toyota Production System (also known as lean production), which was used in manufacturing methods to raise efficiency.
This lean approach is basically finding efficiencies and removing inefficient steps that don’t include value to the end product. The main point of lean approach is to find better, more efficient ways of completing the same tasks. The 8 most important categories of waste you should monitor are:
- Overproduction – Do you produce more than consumers demand?
- Waiting – How much is the period of time between production steps?
- Inventory (work in progress) – Do you provide levels and work in progress inventories too high?
- Transportation – Do you move materials efficiently?
- Over-processing – Do you work on the product too many times?
- Motion – Do people and equipment move between tasks professionally?
- Defects – How much time do you spend to find and fix production mistakes?
- Workforce – Do you use workers efficiently?
As we already said – lean production is an get-together methodology developed initially for Toyota and the manufacturing of automobiles (Toyota Production System – TPS).
A lot of industries adopted the principles of lean production. Here are the 10 rules of lean production:
- Get rid of waste
- Minimize inventory
- Maximize flow
- Pull production from customer demand
- Meet customer requirements
- Do it right the first time
- Make powerful workers
- Design for fast changeover
- Partner with suppliers
- Create a behavior of continuous improvement
Let us not forget to mention six sigma’s as well. This philosophy of process management is developed by Motorola in 1980s, where you use statistical methods to minimize errors. Sigma is the unit which is used to measure deviations from the required specification. The function of Six Sigma statistical methodology is how much deviations can be expected and need to be remedied in real time. Six sigma methods put together principles of business, statistics and engineering to attain tangible results:
- Six sigma decreases costs by 50% through a self-funded approach to improvement.
- Six sigma reduces the waste chain.
- Six sigma have the funds for a better understanding of customer requirements.
Six sigma get better delivery and quality performance.