Overview and Background of Lean Manufacturing

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Overview and Background of Lean Manufacturing

History of Lean Manufacturing

Toyota Production System Overview

The concept of Lean Manufacturing gets is roots from car manufacturing in the early 1930s and 1940s. Stemming from innovative production techniques developed and implemented by Henry Ford, modern day Lean Manufacturing was developed by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota Motor Company after World War II as a result of the diverse market conditions the company faced. At a time when western car manufactures, like Ford and General Motors, where using mass production and economies of scale manufacturing methods, Toyota faced very different business conditions. Toyota's market was very small and diverse, leaving the organization to produce a variety of vehicles on the same assembly line in order to satisfy customers. As a result, the company realized in order to be successful their operations had to be flexible and needed to focus on eliminating wasted time and materials from every step of the production process in order to consistently deliver high quality products. This shift in ideals resulted in the birth of Toyota Production System (TPS) and the 14 principles as described by Liker, outlined below, that the company lives by. •Principle 1. Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals. •Principle 2. Create a continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface. •Principle 3. Use “pull” systems to avoid overproduction. •Principle 4. Level out the workload (heijunka). (Work like the tortoise, not the hare.) •Principle 5. Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time. •Principle 6. Standardized tasks and processes are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment. •Principle 7. Use visual control so no problems are hidden. •Principle 8. Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes. •Principle 9. Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others. •Principle 10. Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company’s philosophy. •Principle 11. Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve. •Principle 12. Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation (genchi genbutsu). •Principle 13. Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly (nemawashi). •Principle 14. Become a learning organization through relentless reflection (hansei) and continuous improvement (kaizen). (Liker, 37-41).

The Evolution of Lean Manufacturing

Modern day Lean Manufacturing was part of TPS, as the practice incorporates the philosophies, principles, and techniques that embodies the values of Lean. Evolving from TPS, Lean Manufacturing has been modified and perfected over the years to encompass five main principles outlined below. These principles will be discussed in greater detail in a later section. (Kocakülâh). •Principle 1: Identify Customers and Specific Values

Principle 2: Identify and Map Value Stream
Principle 3: Create flow by Eliminating Waste
Principle 4: Respond to Customer Pull
Principle 5: Pursue Perfection

The Adoption of Lean Manufacturing

Today, Lean Manufacturing has been widely adopted among many companies in the service and manufacturing industries both in the United States and worldwide. The construction industry, operating within the manufacturing sector, is no exception. Many companies within the construction industry have followed the trend of becoming Lean organizations as a means to improve both productivity and quality. This trend has lead to the development of Lean Construction, an adaptation of Lean Manufacturing specifically designed for the construction industry. (Low, 523-524).

Overview of Lean Principles as they Apply to the...
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