Lean manufacturing is a method of producing products that responds directly to the demand that is happening in the market. Lean manufacturing involves removing waste at every step. Lean business methods can be applied to any business, not just manufacturing. The methodology refers carefully mapping out the operational process and removing anything unnecessary.

In process mapping you are able to visualize the steps that add real value and those that add no value. The idea is to remove the non-value added processes to remove costs and wasted steps. This has the side effect of speeding throughput and shortening delivery lead times.

Going lean is about conserving the resources that you have. It’s important to keep up with the demand, while at the same time not being wasteful. The goal is to not build up costly inventories, but to build products that will be purchased in a short amount of time.

If you have lower inventories, you get better return on your net assets. This means that you will have only the inventory that you need because you are able to forecast what you will need for your inventory based on the demand. This allows you to efficiently react to changes in your market without the need to obsolete old inventories.

Lean manufacturing has worked in the past in a variety of settings, including in manufacturing, office environments and in health care. However, there have been times when the lean manufacturing has not gone so well where the implementation has been too extreme and at too fast of pace.

Set Specific Lean Manufacturing Goals

Set reasonable, but aggressive goals. This might be to reduce work in process inventories by 50%. Once this is reached, set the next goal of cutting that in half again. Then make it 10% of the original. You will find many small changes that will make a huge result possible.

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