How is Lean Manufacturing Beneficial for Manufacturers and The Environment?

How can you reduce costs and minimize wastage in your manufacturing processes? Go lean! Lean manufacturing has emerged as a method of production today that aims to increase productivity and minimize wastage. It is structured keeping value to customers in mind. The value stream is mapped and processes are evaluated to include only value added operations in the production process.

Lean manufacturing enables a pull method of production that is guided by actual demand generated by consumers. The method was used in the Toyota Production System and has since, become a cornerstone for striving for perfection in the manufacturing process.

Smart manufacturing transition
photo credit: ThisisEngineering RAEng / Unsplash

Several benefits make lean manufacturing so popular today. These are highlighted below.

Reduced Wastage

The main objective of lean manufacturing is to reduce the waste involved in manufacturing processes. So it is only natural that this is an obvious benefit of lean manufacturing.

The waste can be in relation to:

  • Excessive time required for transport
  • A lot of waiting time involved
  •  Overproduction based on forecasts
  • Over processing of products
  • Excessive motion involved in the production process
  • Excessive inventory and work in progress
  • Defects in product quality

Lean manufacturing makes use of principles that help to improve the efficiency of operations so that the above wastage can be reduced as much as possible.

Better Product Quality

Lean manufacturing makes it possible to manufacture products of a higher quality. The focus on improving efficiency helps to establish a flow to operations so that productivity may be increased. Because value in defined in terms of what customers need, it is possible to make changes to products that satisfy customer demands.

Over processing can be eliminated so that customers get just what they’re looking for. This results in products of a higher quality.

Quicker Lead Time

In lean manufacturing, mapping of the value stream is done to identify the processes that add value. The non-value added and wasteful processes are eliminated or reduced significantly. These processes are then streamlined to create a flow that enhances operational efficiency from start to finish. This ensures that there is no interruption in functional processes that could cause delay in delivery time. Smooth flow helps to eliminate the wastage involved in waiting and improve lead time.

Improved Customer Satisfaction 

The customer may be king for businesses in general but this becomes even more important when it comes to lean manufacturing. It is an entirely pull driven method of manufacturing which is based on customer demand. Value is identified based on the needs of the customer and products are created to meet these needs. Changes are made to products to serve the customer needs best. Reduced wastage and smoother flow of operations also speeds up the lead time. This allows for customers to get their products “just in time”, increasing customer satisfaction.

By tapping into customer needs, a stronger relationship can be created and a loyal customer base can develop over time.

Lean manufacturing team
photo credit: ThisisEngineering RAEng / Unsplash

Lower Costs

It should come as no surprise that lean manufacturing helps to reduce the cost of operations. With the objective of improving efficiency and reducing wastage, lean manufacturing helps to identify essential and non-essential processes. It also establishes a flow so that production may be streamlined and downtime is minimized.

Manufacturing in response to customer demand eliminates the problem of inventory or work in progress. Lean manufacturing also helps to save space by creating a lean infrastructure. These changes reduce costs for the business. The lower costs coupled with higher sales boost profit margins.

Higher Worker Morale

When you adopt lean manufacturing, you create an organization culture that is committed to innovation. Striving for perfection is a key principle of lean manufacturing. This can encourage workers to come up with new ideas and suggest changes that could be implemented to improve the efficiency of business operations.

Initial resistance is normal as most people tend to want to stay in their comfort zone. Soon however, workers will be able to adopt the change and can contribute, enjoying higher morale.

To Conclude…

All these benefits eventually translate into higher business growth. You will be able to minimize wastage and keep costs low, while also providing customers with products that meet their needs. This will help to boost business sales and promote business growth.

Ultimately, all of the above will help you gain a competitive advantage in the long run.