Lean Production


Lean Production or lean manufacturing is a system of production developed in the production of automobiles. Originally developed for Toyota and by Toyota, it is also known as the Toyota Production System (TPS), and also the ‘just-in-time’ production system.

This system of production owes its conception to an engineer TaiichiOhno who was working with Toyota. He focused on eliminating waste in war-torn Japan, and also on empowering the workers. He also reduced kit-inventory and improved productivity. In doing so he went against the philosophy of Henry Ford who believed in shoring up resources in anticipation of what could be required in the future. To overcome the futuristically envisaged shortage of manufacturing resources, as Ford had done before him, the management team at Toyota built partnership with the suppliers! By making the maximum use of multi-skilled employees available at the factory, Toyota was able to flatten their management structure and focus their resources in a flexible manner. Being an in-house and smooth transition and also due to aftermath of the 2nd World War, Toyota was able to make the changes quickly. Toyota emerged way ahead of its competitors by doing so.

Rules Of Lean Production

The 10 rules of Lean Production can be best described as under:-

  • Minimize inventory
  • Eliminate waste
  • Maximize flow
  • Pull production from customer demand
  • Do it right the first time
  • Meet customer requirements
  • Design for rapid changeover
  • Empower workers
  • Partner with suppliers
  • Create a culture of continuous improvement.

For a lay man the word ‘Lean’ would be best explained by the simple language-‘creating more value for


customers with lesser resources’. In order to achieve this, ‘lean’ thinking changes the focus of the management from optimizing separate technologies, vertical departments and vertical assets to optimizing the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, departments and assets to customers. This can be achieved by eliminating waste along the entire value stream, instead of isolated cases. It can also be done by creation of processes that require less human effort, less space and less time to increase production. In Lean Production the value of the customer is recognized, and every effort is made to multiply it.

Lean Production As Part Of A Lean System

Today, the Lean system is being adapted by every organization. The lean system applies not only to the production line but to every business and every process. In plain words, it is not a tactic or a program but a way of life and thought, not for an individual only but for the complete organization.

Some organizations prefer not to use the word ‘lean’ and use their own nomenclature, e.g.; the Toyota Production System (TPS). Most companies do so to demonstrate that the program is not a short-term cost reduction program as visualized by the general public. They want the public to know the way the company thinks, and operates and conducts its business.Just as a carpenter needs a vision of what to build to get the full benefit of a hammer, Lean thinkers also need a vision before picking up Lean tools.

Lean Production: Toyota Production System

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The Toyota Production System, or lean manufacturing, is one of the most well known lean production solutions in the world. TPS used to be known as Just-in-Time and defines seven various types of waste that must be identified and removed so that a business can function smoothly. Removing waste can enable the business to benefit [...]

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Lean Production and Just-in-Time

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One of the most popular lean production techniques is Just-in-Time, or JIT. The JIT strategy enables businesses to significantly improve upon their return on investment. JIT works by reducing all of the business’ in-process or current inventory, which translates to lower costs and a higher income.   // // // ]]> The main principle behind [...]

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Lean Production In The Modern Business World

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Just because lean production was made popular almost 100 years ago does not mean that it is any less relevant in today’s modern business world. This strategy is still widely studied and widely sought after by businesses and industries all around the world.   // // // ]]> The goal for lean manufacturing is straight [...]

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Lean Production: Kaizen

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Kaizen is a lean production strategy that encourages businesses to strive for improvement. After the Second World War, the kaizen strategy was developed in Japan. It was originally introduced by foreigners and American businesses. Both showed the Japanese people examples of high quality management. Since then, kaizen has grown into a business idea that is [...]

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Lean Production and the 5S Strategy

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Lean production or lean manufacturing has many various strategies. One of the most well known strategies is 5S. This is a Japanese production idea that was developed by Hiroyuki Hirano. The goal for this strategy was to help to improve upon the level of housekeeping and also to have a more streamlined manufacturing flow.   // [...]

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Lean Production For Modern Businesses

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Both the Ford Motor Company and Toyota have made enormous contributions to lean production. Because of their successes, many businesses are trying to use their ideas to increase production by streamlining their operations.   // // // ]]> It is accepted that in order for a lean manufacturing business to function effectively, its operations must [...]

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Lean Production: What is Waste?

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Lean production defines waste as anything that does not add any value to a product or service. The term “waste” is actually very wide, and is a lot more than just the stuff that gets thrown into the dumpster.   // // // ]]> The goal for lean manufacturing is to find and remove waste, [...]

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Lean Production and Toyota

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Toyota was the company that perfected the lean production process. They have developed their own unique strategies and have made an enormous contribution to the way that the industrial world functions. Toyota was originally a producer of textiles and made the change over to the automobile industry.   // // // ]]> Toyota’s first automotive [...]

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The Ford Motor Company’s Contribution to Lean Production

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One of the most well known pioneers of lean production was Henry Ford. He developed the practice of mass production in the Ford Motor Company and implemented the assembly line techniques. Mass production with the use of an assembly line signaled a huge turning point in the way that products were manufactured.   // // [...]

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What is Lean Production?

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Lean production or lean manufacturing is defined as a principle which helps businesses increase their level of output and to remove any waste that occurs in the production process. The idea behind lean is that time and energy are commodities that must be saved so that profits can be increased. Essentially, the goal for the business [...]

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