If you made it to this article, you’ve probably done some research on business productivity and need more detail regarding lean manufacturing concepts. This article gives you five steps to follow for implementation…

What is lean manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing is an approach aiming to reduce waste, whether it is:

  • Wasted materials
  • Wasted money
  • Wasted time

A business might produce waste for many different reasons whether it involves materials, resources or logistics issues. While lean principles are most often applied to manufacturing, the concept is suitable for several industries.

Let’s consider the benefits of lean manufacturing for your business.

Less Waste

Lean principles focus on reducing waste at every level. With less waste your business will be more sustainable and productive.

Waste can occur across seven different areas, including:

  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Waiting
  • Over-processing
  • Overproduction
  • Defects

By adopting a lean management approach, you’ll stop waste occurring at all levels. There will be many changes that you can make to specifically reduce waste, from investing in a high quality conveyor belt system or adopting JIT manufacturing.

Save Money

It’s no surprise that waste costs you money, whether it’s wasted materials or time. Lean manufacturing principles seek to closely analyze every stage of your production processes.

The idea is to ensure that each area of your production is cost-effective. For best results, it may be useful to invest in lean management software.

Improve Productivity

Lean principles use a ‘5S’ approach which helps to boost your business productivity. The five steps are:

  1. Sort: First, take a look at all your materials and get rid of all the resources and equipment that you no longer use.
  2. Set in order: Next, organize your resources to maximize efficiency. 
  3. Shine: Thirdly, inspect and deep clean your areas.
  4. Standardize: Finally, create policies to help your team adhere to these standards.

How To Implement Lean Manufacturing Principles

To implement lean principles, businesses should evaluate waste and efficiency using the following steps.

Value: Define value. Have a thorough understanding of how much your products are worth to your customers. During this stage, you’ll learn how to price your products and services.

Value Stream: This refers to your product life cycle, including all stages from design to use and disposal.

Pull: The ‘pull’ concept reflects the ‘just-in-time’ manufacturing approach. This means that a product should only be made when someone has made an order. Naturally, your production methods needs to be highly efficient to make this work.

Flow: Companies must consider flow to reduce their waste. Flow is about keeping your value stream moving forward so that all production activities are in sync.

Perfection: To get rid of waste, your goal must be perfection. Companies should evaluate their quality and performance over time. Don’t forget to ask your team for feedback when you are seeking to improve your processes.

Final Thoughts

No matter which type of business you run, reducing waste can help you to improve your business efficiency and make larger profits.