Lean Thinking Model and its' Positive
Effects on Manufacturing Processes
June 11, 2009
Table of Contents
Steps of the Lean Manufacturing Process5
Step 1:Identify the Value to Customers in Specific Products and Services5 Step 2:Identify the Business Processes the Delivers this Value to Customers8 Step 3:Organize Work Arrangements around the Flow of the Business Process8 Step 4:Create a Pull System that Responds to Customer Demands9 Step 5:Continuously Pursue Perfection in the Business Process10 Summary12
The lean thinking model has many positive effects on the manufacturing process. The model aids companies in the significant reduction of both human and natural resources by removing waste from all aspects of the manufacturing process. Establishing sound processes will in turn help to eliminate waste in production, workforce, and management resources. The lean thinking model is a process with multiple steps involved to ensure effectiveness for a company. These steps are guidelines that do not fit every organization exactly since there are so many differences between businesses. The function of lean is to seek and find the value of your business. This process will determine the customer’s needs, allow for the removal of non-value added functions and tasks, and materials to become a lean business machine. Henry Ford and the Toyota Company depict an example of the lean thinking model. They invented, re-invented, and added to the lean thinking model over the years and have demonstrated that the model does help create an efficient business.
The Lean Thinking Model (or lean) falls directly in line with expectations of customers needs for a particular product line by totally reducing excess waste out of the process. A company using lean must optimize the flow of production processes in order to make it cost effective and an efficient process. The philosophy of lean is to remove all waste in the manufacturing process, provide reasonable pricing to the customer, which in turn will result in company profits and stability.
Toyota is the forerunner of the Lean manufacturing process and has been utilizing, improving and perfecting this method since 1902 (Becker, 2009). Toyota’s hourly wage including benefits such as health care and pensions plans is significantly less in comparison to their other competitors. Toyota’s rate is $48.00 dollars an hour where GM’s rate is $69.00 dollars an hour (Hirschfeld Davis, 2008). With both the current economic crisis and government bailouts, some of Toyota’s automobile competitors obviously did not follow the lean manufacturing process. Therefore, Toyota is one of the top automobile companies today. The Toyota Production System is credited for Toyota because of their “sustained leadership in manufacturing performance” (Johnsoton, 2001). Toyota has adapted to changes within the automobile industry with excellence. They drive towards “continuously improving the micro levels of manufacturing processes through identification and systematic reduction or elimination of non-value adding activities” (Sullivan, 2008).
Dennis Sowards stated it very well when he said, “For lean construction to be truly successful, it requires a cultural change in the company, not a few random uses” (Sowards, 2009). Not only must a company participate in a cultural change, they must develop a plan to change their processes and their way of thinking. Company programs lacking support and participation from employees’ typically are unsuccessful.
There are five management steps contained within the Lean Thinking Model. This management step approach works well when applied to organize a company’s resources such as equipment and personnel. These resources are incorporated “…around the flow of business processes…” and the products are “…pulled through this process in response to...