In the corporate business world, the term lean is used to mean modern, successful business philosophy, world-class production characteristic of the modern era of business. The goal of this philosophy is to enable the company that in the conditions of growing competition, declining customer loyalty, constant technological innovation, achieve a satisfactory, if not leading, market position.
Lean manufacturing also insists on the original proper execution of each productive activity. Namely, no reps, no fixes, no mistakes, everything it must function flawlessly when needed and to the extent necessary.
Lean represents a long-term, continuous, evolutionary process of change and adaptation, focused on customer satisfaction, through providing products and services of the right quality, in the right quantity, at the right time and the right price.
Lean manufacturing insists on eliminating everything unnecessary, which creates costs rather than benefits. It is achieved by building strong, reliable and long-term relationships with employees, owners, suppliers, distributors, business partners, customers, but also with the broader community and environment.
The goal of introducing lean production systems is to develop the required product with less time and space produces a top-quality product most efficiently and economically possible with less human effort, less inventory and less time responding to customer requests.
Identifying waste in the production system
The main advantage of a lean business system is the insistence on eliminating all defects in the entire production process. Taiichi Ohno, Toyota’s longtime chief engineer and co-creator of Lean Manufacturing (LM), has identified seven basic types of waste in the manufacturing process:
• Hyperproduction (overproduction)— the basis of the characteristics of oversupply is the production of products that cannot apply to market, either because customers do not need it in that quantity or are not needed at that moment;
• Waiting— in the production process, waste of this kind occurs as consequence delays or downtime for any reason, whether waiting for material between operations or delivery of raw materials or for workers to wait for the machine to finish its part of the work. Work delays occur due to poor production planning, inconsistent work methods, more extended processing periods, low efficiency, lack of adequate equipment or materials;
• Transport— unnecessary movement of people and raw materials through the production process is also a waste that needs to be eliminated. Lack of coordination is the cause of this type of waste process, poor workplace organization, multiple different storage locations;
• Over-processing — this type of waste is a consequence of over-processing of the product, more than the customer requires (for example. exaggeration when packing the product). The use of inadequate, inexpensive, inefficient production equipment also leads to the emergence of this category of waste;
• Getting around — all redundant employee movements are considered waste. Search a suitable tool or material that is out of place or out of reach. It is regarded as a waste of time, and if it happens frequently then it is undoubtedly waste;
• Inventories— Inventories are a classic type of garbage, whether its raw materials, unfinished production or finished products. It is the frozen capital in warehouses. This category of waste includes everything that is not intended for direct sale. The main reasons for stock formation are not good enough supplier relationships, unbalanced business operations, incorrect customer, need forecasts, and more;
• Defective parts manufacturing — many authors call this type of waste, just junk. So the defective part is immediately identified as waste. Ohno emphasizes that not only is the broken part waste but and all the effort and all the material spent in producing that work. The appearance of defective parts is the result of inadequate business processes. insufficient training of employees or lack of standardized procedure.
Over time, another was added — the eighth category of waste that is receiving increasing attention, which is untapped human potential. It has been shown that its elimination can be of great benefit. This type of waste occurs due to insufficient or incomplete utilization of the intellectual potential of all working groups in the production process.
Lean manufacturing is characterized by:
• The high degree of product differentiation and high flexibility on customer requirements;
• Automation is fully developed, and quality control is being implemented through the entire value chain by the immediate executors;
• Machines are grouped by-product, according to the same or similar consumer requirements, precisely because they are faster and more complete without significant losses for the business, respond to those specific and rapidly changing requirements;
• It is flat, flexible structure along the lines of value creation for the customer, and the hierarchy is manifested through coordination and consulting.
Lean manufacturing represents a new paradigm because the production of different models in small series directly meets customer needs and enables the company to adapt to market changes more efficiently and faster. The smaller the series, the easier the overall business process is and the better it flows. Lean production is continuous, from a single-process flow, emphasizing the optimization and integration of machines, materials, people, and objects.