A Closer Look at the Lean Experience
Jessica M. Dillman
December 07, 2014
Florida Institute of Technology
“Lean management is an applied philosophy that many manufacturing, service and government organizations have adopted to acquire the flexibility needed to meet new competitive challenges - eliminating waste, enhancing production speed and pushing innovation” (Demers, 2002). The purpose of this paper is to present the history of lean and how it is implemented in companies. The paper will explore lean thinking versus other constraint management systems as well as how the system affects employee morale and stress levels and discover how lean systems can, and should, be applied to the service industry as well as the manufacturing sector. Finally, the author will discuss personal first-hand observations of the system at work. A Closer Look at the Lean Experience
In today’s business world, companies are striving to do more with less while gaining a competitive advantage over their business rivals. In light of these goals, there has been an increasing demand for constraint management within firms. One of these popular constraint management concepts has been around since the 1950s and is today known as Lean, but originally began as the Toyota Production System. “Lean management is an applied philosophy that many manufacturing, service and government organizations have adopted to acquire the flexibility needed to meet new competitive challenges - eliminating waste, enhancing production speed and pushing innovation (Demers, 2002). “The goals of a lean system are thus to eliminate these eight types of waste, produce services and products only as needed, and to continuously improve the value-added benefits of operations (Krajewski, Ritzman, & Malhotra, 2012, p. 277). Achieving these goals takes work and commitment. Companies must first understand the history of lean and how to implement it into their current processes. They must also take into consideration other possible constraint management systems to utilize and what effects implementing lean may have on employees. Finally, businesses in the service sector must take it a step further to determine how to implement a management system originally designed, and historically used, in a manufacturing setting. This paper examines these areas & aspects of lean management through published literature and investigates how each component affects the companies as well as employees utilizing the system.
There is a plethora of information available on lean management. Just one search for ‘lean production’ at the John H. Evans Library and Learning Commons yielded over a half million search results. In addition to online resources, various books are available and there is even a Lean Learning Center available to “develop leaders and learners for lean transformation” (Lean Learning Center, 2004). A. History & Implementation of Lean
“Toyota Motor Corporation is widely recognized for having created an important new management system that top managers of many manufacturing and service businesses now seek to emulate. Toyota's management system is variously referred to as ‘Toyota Production System’” (Emiliani, 2006). This system is now commonly referred to as Lean Management to anyone outside of the Toyota Company. Origins of TPS (Toyota Production System) date back to World War II. “After World War II, the Japanese adopted Henry Ford's mass production principles. Local constraints compelled the Japanese to eliminate excess within their organizations very quickly” (Demers, 2002).
While the principles of lean certainly aren’t new, the term is relatively new. “The interest taken in lean by the western manufacturing community was limited until the performance gaps between Toyota and other carmakers were highlighted by the book The Machine that Changed the World, which also coined the term ‘lean production’ (or ‘lean...
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Emiliani, M. L. (2006). Origins of lean management in America. Journal of Management History, 12(2), 167-184. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13552520610654069
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Krajewski, Lee J.; Ritzman, Larry P.; Malhotra, Manoj K. (2012). Operations Management: Processes and Supply Chains (10th Edition) (p 277). Pearson HE, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Lean Learning Center. (2004). Simmons Lean Experience. Retrieved from Training Manual used for Lean certification.
Lean 's not so mean. (2005). Industrial Engineer, 37(3), 13. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/231440053?accountid=27313
Nave, Dave. (2002, March) How to Compare Six Sigma, Lean, and the Theory of Constraints: A framework for choosing what’s best for your organization. American Society for Progress. Retrieved from http://www.lean.org/Search/Documents/242.pdf
Sridharan, R. (2008, Sep 07). Lean is about a shared process: James P. Womack. Business Today, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/198351737?accountid=27313
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