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Lean Manufacturing: Why is It So Important and How to Adopt It?

Lean methodologies form a core part of large-scale manufacturing nowadays, which means that most of the big names in any sector have already adopted, customized, and some have even refined their lean production methodologies to perfection.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about all SMEs. Let’s get started with a brief but helpful introduction to what lean manufacturing is.

What is Lean Manufacturing and Why Does It Matter?

There are several different methodologies and disciplines built around the core lean thinking and principles in business.

These may have different approaches towards improving production and efficiency, but most lean manufacturing variants still share similar goals like identifying and solving issues, organizing, boosting production, reducing waste, increasing profit margins, and creating sustainable growth conditions.

The core philosophy of lean manufacturing was introduced first by Toyota in 1930, when it was called The Toyota Way. After several iterations and revisions in between, The Toyota Way was finally given the more universal name of lean manufacturing by John Krafcik in 1988.

Although it is far too vast to be simplified or even quantified without context, the core strategies of lean can be best introduced as:

  • Value – What the target customer wants to/needs to buy.
  • Value stream mapping – identification of all steps which ultimately help in manufacturing products with value.
  • Waste reduction – Identifying and eliminating as many (wasteful) steps as possible which do not contribute towards the established value.
  • Creating and maintaining flow – Efforts made towards organizing and improving the value stream map, so that a seamless flow can be established and maintained.
  • JIT – “Just in time (JIT)” refers to always ordering, manufacturing, stocking, and delivering no less or no more than what is required.
  • Consistent improvement – After establishing flow, actionable insights must be given regularly to add more value to future products.

How to Find the Right Lean Methodology for Your Manufacturing Business?

From Six Sigma and 5S to Kanban and Kaizen, there is an overwhelming number of process improvement techniques based on lean today. On top of that, there are several aspects of personalization which must be applied to the core ideology to best suit each manufacturer and their unique conditions.

If you own a manufacturing business which has not yet adopted lean, you will need the help of professional lean manufacturing consultants to even find the right lean strategy that’s best suited for optimizing the production line. To implement a customized lean manufacturing process, contact the lean manufacturing consultants at Supply Velocity.

Why Should Small & Medium Scale Manufacturing Companies Adopt Lean?

Smaller companies across several manufacturing sectors are still not using the latest production techniques and tech. This continues to create several, recurring snags for these small-scale manufacturers, making it increasingly difficult for them to grow or sometimes, even stay afloat.

For example, in the absence of a relevant, customized, and established lean manufacturing method behind production, the company’s:

  • Manufacturing capacity and efficiency will either stagnate or progress at a crawling pace.
  • Use of manpower, funds, time, effort, and various other resources will not be optimized and thus, wasted.

Other than that, every rival manufacturer within the field that adopts lean will eventually have an adverse impact on those that don’t. Eventually, it becomes a battle of attrition for manufacturers still refusing to adapt.

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