Toyota systems had mainly focussed on this ground rule and were hence named lean in the year 1990. Lean in simple terms is considered as a bunch of tools using which waste is waived off. Some of the tools included in lean are Kanban, Poka Yoke, Five S, Total production-maintenance, SMED.
History And Roots Of Lean Development
Though Henry Ford followed the initial practitioner of lean management system or Just in time method, his predecessors had much to add to the concept. Benjamin Franklin had worked on the fundamental concepts of lean management and its principles. Later in the 20th century, Frederick W.Taylor focussed on scientific management by studying all about the workers and method to work. Frank Gilbreth who is an expert in motion study found how work energy was wasted in a work environment when workers had to bend to pick their goods.
After this, Henry Ford chose to set a manufacturing strategy by bringing all the tools, equipment, people together. He then arrived at model T for manufacturing automobiles. This was of great success, and people started to believe Ford was the first one to use the just-in-time model to reach progress in a short time span. But looking at Ford’s working strategy, it was the Japanese industrialists and Toyota
motors founder Taiichi Ohno who inculcated the Ford strategy along with other American based production methods to conclude what is called as Just-in-Time or lean management.
Principles Of Lean Production
According to Womack & Jones, there are five main principles of lean:
- Value - Every company needs to understand the value that a customer is ready to pay for a product or service and accordingly root down the cost of it. This way, they can eliminate the waste and reach more profits.
- Value stream - This is the entire product lifecycle wherein it explains how the raw materials are converted to end products and how the waste is disposed or recycled. Having a thorough understanding of this will be of immense help in waste reduction.
- Flow- If the flow of the value stream stops then it would ultimately lead to wastage. So this has to be avoided by maintaining a continuous workflow.
- Pull-This approach is whereby the company does not manufacture anything until the customer places an order. So this requires all the raw materials to be ready with the designs to be delivered in a short period.
- Perfection - Lean management is all about quality, and the company needs to remove all those poor quality factors that might hinder the perfect output.
Process Lean management process is iterative as it requires a lot of refining once the project begins. So the first step of this process is project planning, followed by project iterative planning wherein the developer looks into the parts of work that requires modulation. Next comes the implementation process followed by a lean testing process. The lean, iterative process itself, in turn, is a way to eliminate waste by refraining from specific steps.
Benefits Of Following Lean Management In An Organization
- Improved organization culture - When people in a company start using the techniques of lean, they tend to be more focused towards improving the results and are progress driven.
- Is easy to refer - When you adapt to a lean management process in a project, unlike other techniques that are learned and closed post project completion, lean management allows you to store the details for future reference. Such a database is worth referring for future projects having similar work modules.
- Easy to assess the progress - When lean is implemented in a company, managers can quickly assess on how the production and sales have improved, how many need to a change of plan, how much lean has efficiently contributed to the process and so on.
When To Use Lean
The lean methodology has to be used in smaller projects and not complex ones. Lean comes from agile methods where the presence of the customer is a must for project discussion throughout the stages. If that is not possible, then do not follow lean for such projects. Instead, focus on small level projects to coordinate with two or three lean management teams.