When we hear the term 'Lean', the name that comes first to our mind is the Toyota Production System. However, the history of Lean trace back to 1450s in Venice and later on to Henry Ford, who popularised the concept of lean in the manufacturing process. It was only after 1930s, Toyota inspired by Ford's flow of production, invented the Toyota Production System. Thus the credit for creating a well-defined framework for Lean belongs to Toyota. Manufacturers across the globe welcomed the idea of lean manufacturing, that is, to eliminate all form of waste, without compromising productivity. By 1990s, organisations started adopting Lean manufacturing mindset to improve their operations continuously. Lean implementation is not a one-time act; it is a continuous and never-ending process of improvement.
Five Principles of Lean Manufacturing
Dr. James P Womack is known as the father of the lean manufacturing movement. Womack, in his book "The Machine That Changed the World" (co-authored by Daniel Jones and Daniel Roos), defined the five principles of Lean manufacturing. These five principles are considered vital for improving workplace efficiency and productivity. They act as the foundation for continuous improvement and operational excellence. The five basic lean principles are:
How lean culture influence organisations?
According to the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), the core idea of 'lean' is "To maximise customer value while minimising waste". Organisations can integrate lean thinking and continuous improvement to outperform their competitors. Embracing lean manufacturing is substantial as it yields several long-term benefits. With the right level of commitment, planning and implementation of lean principles, organisations will gain the following benefits of lean production.
Adopting from an existing process to a new approach might seem complicated; a regular audit and assessment of Lean initiatives and methods, will drive the organisation to a faultless lean culture. For the successful implementation of lean culture, managers and employees should identify the waste within the company and be prepared to eliminate them. An influential lean culture is the result of long term planning and execution of various lean strategies. Lean culture is a journey in which the whole organisation gets acquainted with lean initiatives and transforms at a steady pace. Organisations who are looking for a long-term continuous improvement strategy can go for a lean culture.