What is Lean?

LEAN Management is the name given to a management system that emerged from the Toyota Production System (TPS) with the aim of reducing production costs, shortening throughput times and avoiding waste along the entire process chain. With LEAN it is possible to achieve a sustainable improvement of the value stream. Weak points are systematically analyzed and used with the help of LEAN tools for a lean value stream design. The goal is to produce only what the customer needs at the time without waste.

Lean Management – What is it?

LEAN management was created in the middle of the 20th century at the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, which created a stable process organization through LEAN methods and was thus able to guarantee a high quality level of its products.

The core idea of LEAN is that values should be created without waste. To the end, the aim is to achieve an ideal coordination of the activities required for value creation and to avoid unnecessary activities. The review and optimization of the system is considered from two perspectives. It is of essential importance that the customer is taken into account and that his wishes and requirements regarding quality, price and individuality of the product or service are optimally fulfilled at all times. On the other hand, it is also essential to consider the company itself. It must function efficiently and profitably and continuously improve its competitiveness. As this is a prerequisite for profitability and high efficiency, that the requirements and wishes of the customer are fulfilled in a targeted and flexible manner, processes with a high degree of customer orientation are worked towards. In order to achieve these processes, it is necessary that they are precisely defined, interfaces are clearly described and responsibilities can be precisely defined so that errors can be reacted to at an early stage.

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The 5 core principles of Lean

There are 5 core principles of Lean:

  1. Definition of the value from the customer’s perspective
    In this principle, value is defined from the customer’s point of view, which basically means what should be produced at what time in order to successfully fulfill the customer’s wishes and needs at all times. The manufactured products should be tailored to the customer and should guarantee the highest possible quality and a reasonable price
  1. Value stream identification
    The value stream identification includes all steps required to produce the product or service. All processes responsible for the performance from raw material to the finished product for the customer should be considered in detail and comprehensively. The focus should be on the value-adding processes and an avoidance of waste and orientation towards customer requirements should be achieved. The knowledge and understanding of the value stream in the company and the persons involved in it should make it possible to align the complete production to it and to use the available resources efficiently and optimally.
  1. The Flow Principle
    The flow principle is a continuous and smoothed production process that aims to avoid interruptions in the form of intermediate storage and buffer stocks that exist in organizations. Enormous improvement potentials can be realized, which have a positive effect on the entire value stream and efficiency.
  1. The Pull Principle
    The orientation towards the customer and the organization according to the flow principle means that production is only necessary when the customer places an order or when stocks reach a minimum. The so-called pull-principle is used, in which the products are pulled through the production process from the customer’s point of view and do not go into production based on planning specifications. This not only avoids the storage of products and the associated search and transport effort, but also reduces the workload on production staff.
  1. Strive for perfection
    Perfection is a state that can never be achieved but only aspired to, whereby a constant change of basic conditions takes place and bad habits are back on the agenda faster than expected. LEAN cannot optimize a production system just once, but is a continuous improvement process. Employees are constantly challenged to question processes and to introduce improvement ideas into the system, because they know the processes and procedures in the company best.

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