Friday 14 December 2018

What is Lean manufacturing?

Lean manufacturingA Lean manufacturing is a methodology that focuses on minimizing waste within manufacturing systems while simultaneously maximizing productivity. It may include systematic manufacturing method used for eliminating waste within the manufacturing system.

We have been a few posts dedicated to the idea of the continuous improvement. Lean Manufacturing can be translated as lean manufacturing or lean production. It is a methodology focused on the improvement of production processes, based on the elimination or reduction of waste or activities that do not add value to the product.


The term Lean translates as slim, svelte, skinny, lean or fat free; This applies to all methods that contribute to accomplish operations with minimal cost and zero waste or inefficiency.

Lean Manufacturing consists of several tools, which seek to eliminate all those operations that do not add value to the product of the company. In this way, each activity will be widely more effective than before. All of this under a framework of respect for the rights of the worker and the constant search for your satisfaction in the workplace.

Improvement Tools

These tools improvement organizations gradually eliminate their waste in a simple way and thus achieve significant benefits level terms of delivery, inventories, productivity, use of surfaces and spaces, quality of product, profitability, competitiveness, etc.

thinking Lean provides a method to create value to the production process; Aligns the productive actions according to an optimal and logical sequence; It carries out productive activities continuously; always look for the continuous improvement of the process.

The key principles of lean manufacturing are to achieve:

  • Specify the value for the customers (remove debris). We should not think for customers. The customer pays for things that believes that they have value and not for the things that we think are valuable. The activities of value & kind are those that the client is willing to pay for them. All the others are waste (MUDA).

  • Identify the map of the value chain (VSM) for each product or service. The sequence of activities that allows you to respond to a customer's need represents a value stream. Creating a 'map' of the current value, it is possible to identify those activities that do not add value, from the point of view of the customer, in order to be able to eliminate them.

  • Favor the flow (without interruption). We must have a continuous movement of the product/service through the value stream. Therefore, we have to reduce the delay in the flow of value time removing obstacles in the process.

  • Allow customers to pull the production (PULL system). The application flow and the Pull generated a response more quickly and accurately with less effort and less waste. It allows to produce only what the client requests and prevents the generation of unnecessary stock.

  • Pursue perfection (continuous improvement). We must continue working constantly towards production cycles more short, get the ideal production (quality and quantity), focus efforts on value to the customer. "No machine or process will come to a point from which not is can continue to improve.

Types of waste.

Continuous and sustainable removal of waste or waste is the main goal of Lean Manufacturing. Within the concept of Lean seven types of waste are identified, these occur in any kind of company and arise from receipt of the order to the delivery of the product. In addition, is considered an eighth type of special waste. Below explains each one of them:

Over production:

Manufacturing of products before they are required or investing in equipment with higher capacity than necessary. It originates a poor flow of information and products and inventories. The consider as the main waste and the cause of the majority of other waste. It can be caused by:

  • Early manufacturing to cover possible inefficiencies as faults.

  • Lack of reliability in manufacturing and procurement programs.

  • Overcapacity resulting in more manufacturing than necessary without taking into account the real demand of customer.

Wait times:

Times without producing value where persons and/or machines stops waiting to carry out an activity. Reduces productivity and increases manufacturing time (lead time). They must, among other things, a:

  • Waiting for faults or team’s preparations.

  • Waiting for lack of materials or workers.

  • Wait for automatic cycles.

  • Wait (because, for example modifications) information.


Time spent in transporting parts from one place to another. It increases the cost and the manufacturing cycle. Corresponds to all those unnecessary movements to stack, build, move materials, etc.

Over processing:

Application of means or resources above you need to carry out a process. I.e., they are inefficient processes giving rise to the need to perform tasks without added value. It affects a lower productivity. They may come from:

  • Settings of the processes above as required.

  • Packaging unpack in subsequent processes.

  • Use of inappropriate tools.

  • Duplicate tasks.

  • Improper sequence of Assembly operations.


Accumulation of raw materials, in progress or finished without an immediate need product. It affects a higher cost and a disservice to the client. Is it because there is one greater than the minimum required stock. The inventory gives rise to a series of tasks that do not add value such as e.g. transport, storage, search, accounting, rating, traceability, etc. The main problem with excess inventory is that hidden problems that arise in the company.


Any movement that is not necessary to complete a value-added operation. It affects a lower productivity. Speaking of movements, we refer, among other a:

  • Displacement and search tools.

  • Movements reach, Crouch, bend, turn, etc.

  • Double handling of parts or components.


Use, generate or supply products which do not comply with the specifications. It affects a greater cost, delays, poor quality and a longer production time. This waste requires operations such as inspection and reprocessing. You can generate considerable problems to send defective products to the following operation and erroneous information.
To avoid these defects is proposed standardization of operations and automation of equipment, so that they can detect defects and have the ability to stop and notice.

Human talent:

This is the eighth waste and refers not to use creativity and intelligence of employees to eliminate waste. When they were trained at seven waste your contribution gets lost in ideas, suggestions and opportunities for improvement, etc.

for philosophy Lean, remove these wastes represent a reduction in the total cost of production, a reduction in the manufacturing cycle (lead time), increased productivity and competitiveness among others.

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