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Benefits of Lean Manufacturing and Implementation Approach

Benefits of Lean Manufacturing
Figure Courtesy: Science Direct

Lean manufacturing was established to maximize resource utilization through waste minimization; however, lean was later formulated in response to the dynamic and challenging business environment. Organizations are obliged to face problems and complexities as a result of the quickly changing business environment. To thrive, every manufacturing or service-oriented business must adjust to these changes methodically and continually to increase product value. To reach this perfection, a value-added process is required; thus, building a system for lean manufacturing is becoming an essential capability for any firm to sustain.

The majority of the studies focus on a single aspect of a lean element, with only a few focusing on more than one aspect of a lean element. Still, for successful lean implementation, the organization must focus on all aspects such as Line Balancing, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), U-line system, Cellular Manufacturing (CM), Pull System, Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED), Kanban, Production Levelling, Inventory control and so on. This document attempts to design a lean approach map for the organization’s implementation of the lean manufacturing process. This article summarizes the analyses of the exploration survey data to show the implementation pattern of lean elements in a dynamic business environment, and the findings of this analysis were combined to establish a unified theory for lean element implementation. 

The benefits of being “Lean”:

In a business setting, being ‘lean’ refers to the technique of minimizing waste as well as optimizing efficiency across all processes. Adopting a lean strategy has numerous advantages. For starters, it reduces costs by removing superfluous expenses and optimizing procedures. Second, it increases total production by utilizing resources more efficiently, allowing faster reaction to market demands. Third, lean principles develop a culture of adaptation and resilience by encouraging continual improvement and innovation. Furthermore, because the focus on reducing defects and increasing value matches customer objectives, being lean frequently results in higher quality and customer happiness. Finally, a lean attitude not only provides organizational flexibility but also creates a long-term and competitive edge in today’s fast-paced corporate climate.

The lean manufacturing principles and technologies have been credited with the following total performance gains:

  • Defects are decreased by 20% annually, with zero defect performance achievable.
  • Delivery lead times have been cut by more than 75%.
  • On-time delivery has increased to more than 99%.
  • Productivity (sales per employee) grows at a rate of 15-35% every year.
  • Inventory reductions of up to 75%.
  • More than a 100% increase in return on assets.
  • Improvements in direct labor utilization of 10% or more.
  • Improvements in indirect labor utilization of up to 50%.
  • Increases in capacity of 50% or more in existing facilities.
  • The floor area is reduced by 80%.
  • Quality has been improved by 50%.
  • Machine availability is 95%.
  • Reduced changeovers by 80-90%.
  • Cycle times are reduced by 60%.

Types of Waste:

‘Waste’ refers to any action in a process that does not offer value to the client. Waste, such as financial controls, is sometimes a vital element of the process that brings value to the company and cannot be avoided. Otherwise, all ‘Muda,’ as the Japanese term garbage, should be removed.

 As illustrated in Figure, there are seven major categories of trash. Initially, waste in all processes can be easily discovered, and early improvements can result in significant savings. As the techniques improve, waste reduction will become more incremental as the organization seeks a waste-free process. Continuous improvement is central to lean thinking.

Eight Stage to ‘Lean Manufacturing’ techniques: 

Lean manufacturing is frequently linked to the Toyota Production System (TPS), which helped the automaker gain international notoriety. However, some industry experts attribute its inception to Eli Whitney’s systematization of interchangeable parts during the Industrial Revolution. Others connect Six Sigma, a collection of practices aimed at improving processes, with lean manufacturing. In any case, the TPS is frequently used as an example of how to adopt the concepts of lean manufacturing.

Keeping this in mind, explore the eight steps below for implementing lean manufacturing in your business:

  1. Start with disposing of waste: This is a fundamental idea of lean production. Typically, a stream-of-value analysis can be used to identify wasteful processes at the plant. Simultaneously, you can step up your efforts to develop more effective methods to add value to the company’s product range. (Examples of waste can be seen in the right-hand box.)
  2. Reduce unwanted inventory: In most cases, the expense of keeping surplus inventory surpasses the potential benefits. It has the potential to clog resources, slow response times, and complicate quality-control concerns. Overstocking can be especially problematic if part of the inventory becomes obsolete, as is frequently the case.
  3. Reduce production cycle times: What seemed to take weeks or even days is now frequently completed in just a couple of hours. Make use of the technological resources at your disposal. Lean manufacturing adherents advocate producing small batches in order to add “bells and whistles” to later product variants.
  4. Increase response time: For years, manufacturers have highlighted the importance of creating accurate market forecasts. However, in a fast-paced setting, this is occasionally the best technique. On the other hand, making a system that can respond quickly to capitalize on market shifts may be desirable.
  5. Ensure that all elements of the product have been tested for quality: Develop testing processes and controls at many checkpoints throughout the process to spot problems as early as possible. Fine-tune the equipment to discover issues, make necessary repairs or upgrades, and proceed.
  6. Increase employee autonomy: Give more people decision-making authority and equip them with the necessary resources and techniques. You can take this a step further by forming teams to track work progress as well as enhance processes. Companies frequently discover that viable solutions can be given by personnel beneath the management level. Furthermore, this type of involvement can boost morale and performance.
  7. Demand feedback from customers: After designing core product features, employ a methodical approach to solicit consumer feedback. The framework should be built to adapt to any modifications throughout its life. This step will allow you to meet the needs of your customers while remaining inside your core structure.
  8. Make contact with vendors: Make suppliers “partners” within the lean manufacturing cycle where appropriate. Benefits can be obtained for all parties by combining supplier cooperation with the deployment of lean manufacturing principles. This also contributes to the strengthening of existing partnerships that are critical to your manufacturing business.

Drawbacks of Lean:

1. Employee Well-being and Safety

Lean critics contend that it can disregard employee safety and well-being. It is possible to disregard the demands placed on individuals who are given minimal tolerance for error in the workplace by focusing on reducing waste and streamlining procedures. Lean has been compared to nineteenth-century scientific management approaches that were opposed to labour reforms and were considered old-fashioned by the 1930s.

2. Prevents Future Growth

The inherent focus on waste in lean manufacturing can cause management to remove aspects of a company that need to be regarded as necessary to the current strategy. These, however, may be critical to a company’s heritage and future progress. Lean might cause an over-emphasis on the present while ignoring the future.

3. Complicated to standardize

Some detractors argue that because the practice of lean manufacturing is a cultural rather than a method, it is impossible to develop a consistent lean production model. This can give the impression that lean is a sloppy and ambiguous method rather than a solid one.

Six Sigma vs Lean:

Six Sigma is a data-driven management strategy that, like lean, tries to identify and remove process faults in order to enhance quality. At the same time, both systems aim to eliminate waste, and both achieve it in very different ways.

While Lean believes waste is generated by extra stages, techniques and features that customers do not add value to, Six Sigma considers waste generated by process variance. Despite their differences, Six Sigma, along with Lean can be integrated to form a data-driven method known as ‘Lean Six Sigma.’


Lean manufacturing is an approach for streamlining and improving manufacturing processes and additional services to give consumers more significant advantages while saving both time and resources through waste removal. Lean is best adopted across an organization as a technique, with continuous monitoring as well as changes implemented with the guidance of personnel at all levels.

Implementing a lean manufacturing method necessitates a significant shift in corporate culture for many businesses. However, consider the long-term consequences if your organization is unable to adapt. Consult with your business consultants about implementing this strategy.


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