Lean Manufacturing Principles are derived from the Toyota Production System (TPS) and follow five concepts.
All Businesses must delight customers in order to retain their own customer base, and indeed create competitive advantage. Noriaki Kano mentioned, that in order to be competitive, companies must aim to provide the customer with their basic needs but also create that wow factor – the delight factor, which they want again and again.
It is clear then, that companies must understand their customer’s needs, in order to provide them with what they want. This is no different in Lean.
Companies must understand what customers actually want from them – what is it that they see of value. Only when we know this, we can understand which processes are aligned to providing the customer with value and which are not.
Understanding the Value Stream is the next step. This is done by mapping all the steps involved from Customer order to delivery of product / service to the customer. Here, extensive detail must go into understanding the cycle time of each step, rework %, lost time, uptime of machines (where applicable),number of staff members involved in the task, and other information. Your goal is to see waste, so understanding accurate data will also give you a few clues as to any anomalies going on and where the waste is (Remember Genchi Genbutsu – going to the source to find facts!)
This data helps you understand where potential opportunities lie in order to make improvements to that Value Stream.
Are there silos of information, inventory, rework, breakdowns of machines? Are there too many people operating a process? Is the cycle time in the order process too long?
The VSM will show this information and flow of product, allowing everyone to see it clearly in a pictorial format.
How do you make a Value Stream flow? By removing the waste or NVA!
If you remove waste in a Value Stream, you shorten the lead time. Once you have identified improvement opportunities in your current State VSM, these become your Kaizens for the next 6 – 12 months.
Each Kaizen is a targeted improvement project, designed to eliminate the waste in the Value Stream.
The Kaizens should be completed in the required timescale. – The result: a leaner value stream with shortened lead-times, which flows information and product through the business a lot quicker and smoother.
So far, we have followed the first three of the five Lean Manufacturing Principles:
Customer requirements and value understood?
The Value Stream is mapped?
Opportunities identified and future state map created with the flow improvements?
-The next step is to create pull. What’s pull?
Pull ensures you build just what the customer wants, with no / little over production.
– just what the customer wants, when he/she wants it!
This ensures that the business is focusing on product that it will be paid for, and not wastefully producing work to put in stock and sell someday soon – hopefully. Making to customer order, when the customer wants it is critical. The more flexible you make your operations through the removal of waste, the better you can align your pull from the customer.
Remember – Inventory is Fear – Effort must go into reducing this to make real “bottom line” improvements.
Lean manufacturing principles are based around the fact that you don’t just do it once. You have to keep looking and identifying improvements every day, every year, over and over again.
Once you create improvements and fulfil the new future state, you revisit and start again – Continuous Improvement never stops!
If you can keep these Lean Manufacturing Principles in mind, coupled with the 7 wastes, then you will make steady improvements and good progress towards your goal of continuous improvement and focused Kaizens.
Reinforcement in these two key concepts will help drive a Lean Culture through your business.