The Key Lean Manufacturing Principles

Kaizen – a Japanese term,(constant process focus on getting better) is at the very heart of Lean Manufacturing. Lean Manufacturing can be helpful in many processes throughout your Heat exchanger manufacturer in Vadodara business, including BOTH manufacturing and transactional processes. Some, any or all of the processes involved in your business can be included in your Lean Manufacturing deployment and initiatives. The key lean manufacturing principles can be identified as:

• Getting it right the first time with no defects identifying and solving problems from the source,

quickly and as they happen

• Non-value added elimination and optimizing all resources at your disposal

• Kaizen or on-going CI or Continuous improvement as it is also known, keeping on raising the bar of performance and excellence in your business.

This can be done through Lean Manufacturing focusing in on reducing costs, improving quality, increasing productivity and better information sharing, streamlined operations and great teamwork, focused, targeted process improvement.

• Customer-demand drives activity in a pull NOT push system and inventory, wait times etc., effectively trimmed and cut down (even eliminated where possible).

• Adaptability, agility and flexibility efficient, quick without giving up on quality.

• Extending these efficiencies and efforts to your supply chain and other business partnerships in a collaborative effort, building relationships that fit, work and last.

It is like having a recipe for success to success in the new global, fast-paced, technology enabled and driven, highly competitive marketplace and economy. Using the Lean Manufacturing way and tools better enables and empowers you and your business to not only succeed in this environment, but flourish and thrive!

Its history and future is built on the premise that wasted, time, space, energy, effort, money and poor quality all cost money and should be made visible, dealt with and Lean is basically all about getting the right things, to the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity while minimizing waste and being flexible and open to change.

Working quicker with less effort and waste, being efficient, consistent and with the minimum amount of waste, unnecessary movement, cost and time, Lean Manufacturing quickly sets you up for success and business improvement. It is about more than merely focusing on manufacturing processes. There is more to the philosophy and methodology than meets the eye.

Think of innovative ways to cut costs in your business and operation without risk to quality and customer. Eliminate and trim unnecessary process steps, cheaper alternatives or costly extras that are not really deemed necessary. Shared utility or tools are a great way to minimize expenses, set-up and overall costs. Make the most the resources that you do have available.

Take a closer look at the materials and processes you and your team use everyday and try to spot the as is process. Do a reality check. See the costs and waste, put metrics to things, raise awareness of what could be done differently, more effectively and cheaper. Sometimes process steps can be eliminated or combined to get to a result quicker and use resources, time, quality better.

Standardization goes a long way to cut down on waste. Tweaking and adjusting machines for no apparent reason other than routine and habit should be stopped and taken a close look at. Reuse, reduce, recycle comes into play. More effective materials and process steps that take less time will often help your business out too.

How technology, automation, outsourcing etc. can save you and your customers some time and money. Taking actions to correct certain aspects within your business, rid it of waste, expense and streamline processes for optimal function and ultimate success is what Lean Manufacturing is all about.

Learning by doing and hands-on involvement is a great byproduct and enabler of these processes and initiatives. It engages and energizes. It sparks interest and builds involvement and action. Make changes, review the results and adapt if necessary, celebrating your success, looking for new opportunity summarizes this ongoing cycle well.

Here is an easy way to remember some of the fundamental practical things you can do right away in your business, applying Lean Manufacturing tools:

Kai-Zen or ‘change for the better’ is the mantra for Lean Manufacturing. It is on-going and not once-off! A process in itself! By effectively focusing on improving the efficiency of any underlying processes, improving performance, you will reap the financial rewards. It is like having measure and ‘proof’ of your success. Bringing science, intuitive and creative problem-solving, analysis and scrutiny to business processes you increase the handle you have on the unfolding events, steps and outcome.

It drives the performance excellence of your business to new heights. Lean Manufacturing will get you there. Combining this approach with the discipline and rigor of process management and business process improvement tools like Six Sigma, increases the impact and effectiveness. Three pillars of strength for both these business approaches are:

  1. customer focus, centric and directed activity, value add process and outcome
  2. Effectiveness (iii) Efficiency.


C – Cleanup

A – Arranging

N – Neatness

D – Discipline

O – Ongoing improvement

Giving customers EXACTLY and MORE than they wanted, exceeding expectations are important. What is your niche and specialty that makes you stand out from the crowd? Again some self-diagnostics from the Lean Manufacturing toolkit to help you out here regarding assessing your own business and readiness:

• How can Lean Manufacturing help you establish, identify and communicate that competitive edge to your business employees, partners and customers?

• How successful are your products and services in securing ‘clients for life’ and repeat business? How strong is your brand?

• How do you currently minimize costs, cut expenses and deal with waste?

Another important concept in Lean Manufacturing to grasp, understand and utilize is KANBAN (another Japanese-inspired term). Lean Manufacturing or just-in-time manufacturing, on-demand production, meaning sign or card. Signals or visual cues are used, when products, parts or services are required by customers. The system is reactive and takes advantage of the ‘flow’ concept. On demand solutions for operations, production lines and manufacturing facilities are suggested and preferred, due to the fact that having inventory pile up costs money, time and quality, better spent elsewhere.

Yet another essential Lean Manufacturing tool and utility to consider is something referred to as Total Productive Maintenance. This is different from routine or occasional maintenance that has to be performed. Having no downtime and scheduled maintenance, pro-active planning for and working with it, as opposed to a more passive-responsive approach is recommended in the Lean Manufacturing philosophy and practical application.

It is often depicted as “deterioration prevention”It is NOT FIXING MACHINES WHEN/IF THEY BREAK DOWN. There is more here than meets the eye. Equipment must be ready at any and all time for operation. The equipment should be able to provide us with efficiency on demand while running and provide quality service and output that can be relied upon.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Up-time and and throughput are the three key metrics we use to track and gauge how the maintenance tasks are going and what should be done, when and next to keep them all humming and working effortlessly, seamlessly individually and together.

Mistake-proofing is important too, reducing the variability and increasing the process capability, the ‘baseline’ and means to and end (namely the machines and operation overall) have to be well taken care of.

So, we have provided numerous examples and reasoning for why Lean Manufacturing will be good for your business, regards less of size, developmental phase, partners, customers, size or current level of performance. There tools can help you move your business forward.

An underestimated factor in all Lean Manufacturing deployments is the underutilized talents of our collective and collaborative potential. We oftentimes get so busy with what each of us are doing individually, that we lose sight of how much more powerful we could be, if we combined our efforts!

In our opinion, here-in lies the secret of Lean Manufacturing. We have to give everyone the opportunity to partake and participate, share in the experience and undertaking for maximum results!

Ask yourself how you can make the most of people’s time and investment in CI or Lean Manufacturing practices and how it will/call affect/benefit your business? Your resources, employees and customers are important assets – how are you using and utilizing them all in this process of becoming a more agile and cost-effective organization/business/operation? Always, start by asking what can I do? This personal handsome approach can truly make a difference in any business.

Ways to avoid your Lean Manufacturing initiatives to be stymied and frustrating, fail or come up short:

• Pay special and close attention to what the business culture really is! It could be totally out of alignment with the principles and fundamentals of Lean Manufacturing and cause some stress, tensions, or even resistance within and throughout the organization.

• Ask and answer yourself/your team, your business, partners and customer honestly what the existing climate is that would support (hinder/help) Lean working methods and how it will benefit all stakeholders?

• Here is another useful question: Is our organization hierarchical, rigid and autocratic and not a people centered company?

• Learning what not to do from the mistakes and discoveries, shared learning and insights from others is critical.

• Be aware that not everyone will necessarily share your enthusiasm for Lean Manufacturing. Some might dread what it does to their work load and world. Some initial resistance to any change is normal. Showing the value or the WIIFM (what is in it for me) is a very important part of the whole Lean Manufacturing initiative.

Here are TEN easy tips of how to enable Lean Manufacturing in your organization:

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