Todays Lean! Its All About Workflow

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They improve processes for productivity and quality. These activities do not add value to a customer. They are necessary for continuity of a process. The aim of LEAN approach is to identify them in the process. And use specific lean tools to eliminate or reduce them. Thus, Lean improves process efficiency.

Lean manufacturing principles

However, Lean finds its application in any environment, where process wastes are witnessed. Lean can be applied to manufacturing as well as service industries. It causes no doubt that Lean, nowadays, is being adopted by service sectors with both arms. Muda is a Japanese team for wastes — introduced by the Japanese engineer Taiichi Ohno of Toyota in s.

These wastes are further explained below:. The efforts involved inspecting for and fixing errors, mistakes through reworks. Producing more products or services that the customer needs or downstream process can use. Idle time created when material, information, people, or equipment is not ready.

It includes high job set up time in manufacturing. Or excessively high data processing time in the service industry.

A new workflow

Employee empowerment can counter this waste as advocated by Japanese quality pioneers. Moving products, equipment, material, information, or people from one place to another, without any value addition to final product or service. Unnecessary movement of people or machines that takes time and uses energy.

It may cause fatigue to workman due to unwanted movement of a body. How to Identify them? The customer defines the value of a product or service. Hence, the first step is to identify customers. Ask yourself, what does the customer value? Classify the process activities into Non-Value added, Value-added and Enabling value added. Map the value stream: The value stream mapping shows the workflow process steps for a product or service.

Process Improvement: Six Sigma & Kaizen Methodologies

Create flow to the customer by ensuring continuous flow system in producing product or service. Flow will optimize the process to maximize process efficiency. The beat time is the rate at which a product must be ready to meet the customer demand. JIT Just in time is a tool promoting Pull system. This ensures smooth workflow of the process without any disruptions.

It also helps to diminish inventory level.

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Finally, you must put consistent efforts to improve the existing business processes to cater ever-changing customer needs. VSM Value stream mapping: As already discussed, VSM helps to identify process wastes and causes of these wastes. It involves the commitment of down level people in the organization towards process improvements, facilitated by subordinates and supported by management. SMED Single minute exchange of dies: It improves equipment changeover time.

The lean manufacturing cycle

It works on a principle of reducing changeover time to within ten minutes. Also known as intelligent automation. It stops the assembly or production line if a defect occurs. The aim is to evenly distribute the load by balancing production lines. The aim is to go to the actual place of work. Observe the process and executions in real time with care. Kanban boards can be displayed and managed to see the current inventory level on a real time basis. It also alerts to the management to bring the attention over excessive inventory.

When a process is difficult and requires a lot of mental concentration, we are also prone to making more mistakes and errors when we are tired, overworked, or otherwise not functioning at our best.


In some jobs, this is a critical flaw in terms of risks and outcomes. This is an opportunity for process improvement using lean principles. The lean philosophy emphasizes creating more value for customers with fewer resources through optimizing the flow of work. The outcome is a more organized state of operation where employees have access to tools they need, they are empowered to deliver delightful customer-service , cost savings are realized due to efficient processes and workflows, and all this leads to profitable business results.

Implementing lean process improvement can become quite involved and detailed.

Kanban Explained for Beginners

However, the basic principles are simple and straightforward:. Ultimately, what all customers want is value. Value creation occurs when the quality of services received is perceived as high compared to their cost. What does your customer want and how can you provide it better, faster, cheaper? Rather than making an employee check every product for defects or errors such as a thread breaking on a loom , a machine is set up with checks built in to do the task automatically.

When an error is detected, an alarm sounds to let the employees at hand know that something has gone wrong. What do you think to using lean in manufacturing? Have any tips or cautionary tales on the topic? Find him on Twitter here. Simple, concise, and informative. I have been a Quality Engineer for 7 years and have only picked up on lean mfg principles no official training. My issue is overuse or not proper use of lean mfg principles by my co-workers. Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

Applying Lean Principles to Your Business Processes

Notify me of new posts by email. Keep reading to get the full rundown on the following lean principles with two techniques for good measure: Eliminate waste Kaizen continuous improvement Respect human elements Heijunka level production JIT Just In Time production One piece flow Quality built-in Poka-Yoke mistake proofing Jidoka detecting defects through automation Lean manufacturing principles Elimination of waste The elimination of waste is core to anything related to lean as a practice. Kaizen continuous improvement Reducing waste and continuous improvement go hand-in-hand as lean manufacturing principles.

To learn more, check out our article on the topic: To learn more about this technique, check out our post on the topic: Are You Poka-Yoke Woke? Stop Mistakes With This Error Prevention Method 10 Examples Jidoka detecting defects through automation Complimenting poka-yoke is jidoka — the principle that most defects can be automatically detected to completely remove human error from the equation. The five steps in the lean manufacturing cycle are: Thanks for subscribing to the Process Street Blog!

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  5. One Comment Solid article!