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Lean Thinking in Manufacturing

The batch and queue operational process suits the huge batch production units and the focus is more on the machine and worker efficiency at individual level. But this thought process needs to be changed keeping in mind the changing market conditions and consumer thinking.

By implementing lean thinking in manufacturing situation, the secret is to view the process as a continuous flow and attach right level of importance in integrating the different systems involved so as to improve on quality while reducing costs and thus enhancing performance. The lean thinking tenet needs to be implemented throughout the enterprise so as to make it a success in a manufacturing unit.

The key principles of lean thinking in manufacturing are:

  • Define the value of the product accurately from the customer perspective.
  • The value stream of each of the products needs to be identified and steps are to be taken to remove waste.
  • The process steps need to be taken so as to create value at every stage of the production cycle.
  • The principle of Just in Time JIT needs to be implemented too so that the customer gets the product when the need is expressed.
  • The success of lean thinking enterprise is in the stress on perfection i.e. zero defects.

One of the first companies to implement lean critical thinking is the Boeing Company.  The objective for the implementation was to achieve deliver higher customer value by emphasis on waste elimination, reducing costs, process times and defects. Boeing’s lean thinking was the principles followed by Toyota. Boeing’s focus was on reducing complexity, eliminating excess staff, cutting down on overproduction, conserving space and energy while ensuring zero defects.

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