Lean Manufacturing and Lean Production
Today’s manufacturing companies find themselves under increasing pressure to produce improved quality products at the lowest possible costs and within the shortest possible time. In order to meet these demands, it is vital for companies to strive for a continuous and consistent improvement of their operational flows and corporate processes.
Lean Manufacturing / Lean Production has become established as a powerful tool designed to assist companies in their efforts. Based on the principles developed at Toyota, known as TPS (Toyota Production Systems), the tool has since found application in all types of production company and has become the benchmark for the automotive industry and other industries worldwide.
With its open problem-solving culture, Lean Manufacturing enables companies to streamline their production processes, regardless of whether the product in question is a car, an insurance policy, a bank loan, a food item or a control chart hit list.
With Lean Management and a new, consistent process and customer-oriented culture, the company can react promptly and flexibly to shifts in demand and can help balance the fluctuations found in all process levels, from the customer to the supplier, to enable a smoother and more stable operation. This integrated approach identifies and visualises wastage and losses, followed by their long-term elimination or reduction. Smaller implementation steps have proved vital in bringing about rapid and attractive results, providing the necessary stimulus for sustainable changes.
Over time, generalisation triggered a development in Lean Production. The result was Lean Management, which emerged as an integrated philosophy and corporate culture.
Lean Management is aimed at the optimisation and synchronisation of all activities vital to the creation of added value and the avoidance of redundant activities leading to wastage and loss. The situation is assessed from the customer’s standpoint as well as that of the company, resulting in organised information and process chains, which are clearly oriented towards the customer and customer expectations.
Why Lean Management?
A vital component of Lean Management is the continuous examination of existing structures, activities and processes from the aspect of maximum customer satisfaction. This prescribes, on the one hand, a corporate culture with highly-motivated and qualified personnel whilst on the other hand, achieving the best possible result for the customer with the lowest possible input of personnel, time investment and materials. This, in turn, can only be effective within the scope of a continuous improvement process and must be applied to the complete product lifecycle. Each process is described in such a way that any deviation – whether positive or negative – can be identified immediately. Within the scope of active shop floor management, which involves the management attending the site of the problem at frequent intervals, deviations and KPIs highlight the existence of the “issue” for as long as is needed to find the “actual” root of the problem. This provides the foundation for a sustainable solution.
Lean Management supports companies in striving to achieve e.g. lead-time reduction, reject avoidance, quality optimisation, stock reduction and overall cost-cutting.
What are the Benefits of Lean Management?
Lean Management is aimed at achieving a sustainable increase in productivity. The systematic analysis of vulnerabilities and the application of specific Lean methods, coupled with the open problem-solving culture and shop floor management, enable the sustainable improvement of value streams (information and process chains) within the company and their orientation towards customer expectations.
Organisation of the business processes is therefore a major competitive factor. Lean corporate organisation enables the production of a large number of product variants of a high quality, using only a small number of personnel, a smaller production area and a smaller investment volume.
IBS products, such as the MES system or CAQ software, ensure the shop floor management the loss-free provision of information from all processes, as well as enabling integrated corporate control and access to customer complaints, all the way back to the development department. IBS thus assists and supports companies in avoiding wastage and in securing the benefits of Lean Production and a high degree of quality for their customers.