5 Lean manufacturing principles

To stay ahead in the industry and maintain a competitive advantage, many manufacturers have implemented lean principles into their business models. Lean manufacturing is a management model that provides a range of applications and tools that reduce waste while maintaining high-quality operations and products.

Lean principles increase productivity, quality, and efficiency while reducing overall costs and waste. Here are five lean principles that can help you improve your manufacturing process.

5 Lean manufacturing principles

1st Principle Lean Manufacturing: Determine the value of your product

The value principle is customer-centric. It is imperative to know what drives customers, what they are willing to pay for, and what they value in the business. By putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and understanding what they want and need, you can determine the value of your products and create a competitive top-down target price.

Once the product has acquired a specific value, steps can be taken to increase production to make it as profitable as possible. By working to be efficient and profitable, there will be no room for wasted materials or time. This new approach will deliver the customer’s expected value at the highest levels of profitability.

2nd Lean Manufacturing Principle: Defining a value chain

The lean value stream refers to the life cycle of a product, from raw materials to consumer use and final disposal. Lean practitioners map these value streams on a flowchart to analyze delays, inefficiencies, and production constraints. Once problem areas are identified, they can proceed to eliminate any steps, materials, or elements that do not add value to the product. This process aims to eliminate all waste.

Value stream mapping allows the manufacturer to see every step and every material that goes into a product, which can be a very rewarding experience. Knowing the steps in each manufacturing process makes it easier to determine which steps are beneficial to maximize efficiency. This technique will lead to a better understanding of the manufacturing process and where areas can be improved.

3rd Lean Manufacturing Principle: Create a Sequence

After determining the cost of your product and determining where waste can be eliminated, the next step is to establish a production flow and ensure that all processes run smoothly and harmoniously. This ensures that from the start of production to the delivery of the product to the customer, the process is as efficient and productive as possible. The goal is to ensure that all aspects of the manufacturing process always work as a whole.

4th Lean Manufacturing Principle: Pay Attention to Pulling

The Lean Pull principle creates on-demand production, meaning that no product is produced unless requested by the customer. This way of doing business will work to eliminate the amount of wasted material since pull focuses on creating products as needed, there is no need to stock material, eliminating the need for extensive inventory and saving your company money in the long run.

5th Lean Manufacturing Principle: Strive for Excellence

While perfection is often unattainable, setting high goals in your manufacturing company will keep everyone on their toes. Lean principles can be easily integrated into your corporate culture and ensure a continuous drive to improve and grow your company. It is an ongoing effort to find and identify the root causes of quality problems and waste generation. However, once uncovered, companies will be compelled to make real changes and delve into the potential benefits, which will keep the competition competitive and move the industry forward.

Each of these principles will impact different areas of your business, which will benefit from an improvement in each productive factor. Initially, there will be improvements in time performance and gradually a reduction in costs by improving efficiency and decreasing waste during manufacturing. All major manufacturing companies have applied these principles during the last decades, showing an improvement in their production capacity, quality, and business growth.

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