Lean Management

Topics: Lean manufacturing, Toyota Production System, Manufacturing Pages: 8 (2474 words) Published: April 28, 2010
The word term ‘’LEAN’’ was put together to describe and personalize Toyota’s business activity during the 1980’s by a research team headed by one Jim Womack, Ph.D., at MIT’s international Motor vehicle programme. According to them, the concept of ‘LEAN’ was fathered by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota. Ohno developed a contrasting approach to the mass production methods of US car firms through necessity. Later, in 1996, Jim Womack’s team espoused the five lean principles and also lean tools that they believed were the secret for Toyota’s success. According to Oxford dictionaries, Lean means efficient and with no wastage. The core idea of lean is to minimize wastage and at the same time maximize customer value. Customer value is of utmost importance to a lean organization and the organization will focus on its key processes to continue increasing the value. Ultimately, the goal is to provide the perfect value creation process that has no wastage. To accomplish this value creation and zero wastage goal, lean thinking changes the focus of a management from optimizing separate technologies, assets and vertical departments to optimize the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets and department customers. By reducing or eliminating waste along the entire stream of value, we will be able to come up with processes that would need less effort, less space, reduced capitals and reduced time in order to make products and services at prices far less than normal and with fewer defects. Organizations will be able to be responsive towards changing customer needs and wants with a lot of variety, higher quality, reduced costs and with less throughput times. Information management will also be much simpler and much more accurate. Lean management is a concept which can be applied in every business and every process. It should not be compared with a cost reduction program or tactic because it is a way of thinking and acting that applies to the whole organization. Nowadays, it is common that businesses across all industries and services, including the health care and even governments around the world are applying the concept of lean as the way they think and operate their business. Many of these organizations does not use the word lean out of choice and tend to label their practices as their own system, such as the Toyota Production System or the Danaher Business System. It is done to instill a point that lean is not a simple programme or a short term cost reduction solutions, but the way the company operates. the term ‘Transformation’ or ‘lean Transformation’ are usually used to characterize a company that is moving from an old way to a lean thinking way. this transformation requires a complete transformation on how a company usually conducts their business, thus, requiring long term perspective and perseverance through the changing time. It is also interesting to note that the concept of lean in production and service has the touch of one of the greater management thinkers, W. Edwards Deming who had great influence in Japanese manufacturing. He believed that the present manufacturing scenario is a prison of interacting people and stressed the importance of re-inventing the management processes in order to achieve higher efficiency and value. In implementing lean in production or services, I will be following the concept espoused by Womack’s team that stressed on three important business issues that will be able to guide the transformation process of an entire organization into a lean organization. In order to achieve lean objectives in an organization, it is important first of all to note that the organization and the people leading the transformation need to have a lean vision. In order to develop this lean vision, we can concentrate on three fundamental business issues which are Purpose, Process and People.

By thinking deeply into these three...

Bibliography: Translated from Japanese original, first published 1978
David McPhetrige, 2009, An industry consultant provides guidance on implementing a basic Lean plan
Hanna.J, 2007, Bringing ‘Lean’ Principles to Service Industry. Harvard Business School (Online) Available at: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5741.html (Accessed on 21st October 2009)
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