Lean philosophy centers on the elimination of waste in all forms in the workplace. Specific lean methods include just-in-time inventory management, Kanban scheduling systems, 5S workplace organization, Scrum and other “agile” software development methodologies. Many of these concepts and systems were pioneered by automobile manufacturer Toyota dating back to the 1940s and were subsequently adopted as best practices in many industries beyond automotive production. Applying these principles to your production has the potential for both improved profitability and increased complexity.Lean production is an assembly-line methodology developed originally for Toyota and the manufacturing of automobiles. It is also known as the Toyota Production System or just-in-time production. Lean production principles are also referred to as lean management or lean thinking.
Engineer Taiichi Ohno is credited with developing the principles of lean production after World War II. His philosophy, which focused on eliminating waste and empowering workers, reduced inventory and improved productivity. Instead of maintaining resources in anticipation of what might be required for future manufacturing, as Henry Ford did with his production line, the management team at Toyota built partnerships with suppliers. In effect, under the direction of Engineer Ohno, Toyota automobiles became made-to-order. By maximizing the use of multi-skilled employees, the company was able to flatten their management structure and focus resources in a flexible manner. Because the company was able make changes quickly, they were often able to respond faster to market demands than their competitors could.
Many industries, including software development, have adopted the principles of lean production. The ten rules of lean production can be summarized:
1. Eliminate waste
2. Minimize inventory
3. Maximize flow
4. Pull production from customer demand
5. Meet customer requirements
6. Do it right the first time
7. Empower workers
8. Design for rapid changeover
9. Partner with suppliers
10. Create a culture of continuous improvement (Kaizen)
The learning methodology Lean give prestige to VET in Euskadi. I had the opprtunity to look at forthcoming expereince in Lea Artibai VET Centre. With a strategy to achieve excellence methodology through technical and innovative procedures , Lea Artibai VET Basque center will be the first to welcome 15 students from three provinces of CAV under this new teaching format.
The aim of the new educational facilities , ” innovative in its format ” will be to train VET students under the precepts of Lean- based learning by doing or learning by doing –so that they can then leave their marks method in the companies in which they work. Improvements that can provide also crimped perfectly with Basque productive industry that has an outstanding and large volume of production.
” ADDED VALUE ” Together with a large group of companies in the county , at the opening of the Lean Eskola institutions have supported the project involved , an idea that “emerged last year and half ago and we managed to bring it here with great effort and work, ” the director of Lea Artibai Ikastetxea , Isabel Mendiguren welcomed .
Anyway, we do not forget that the LEan Production has its advantages and disavantages
Advantages of Lean production strategy :
Lean productions, if implemented correctly, possess many advantage which can give the companies’ productivity major boost. In return, they will obtain a major competitive advantage over traditional process.
Because lean manufacturing utilizes the JIT technique, inventory storage management is decreased with its costs. Another policy that is linked to JIT is the pull strategy. This gives the manufacturer the ability to manufacture the products to the customer likes and save cost of holding inventory till sale and waste (Lansbur, Russell, 2006).
Lean production gained another major boost in the 21st century where growing alternate taste and custom orders gained pace. Growing demand gave lean producers the ability to cater much easily compared to ford style mass production system.
Disadvantages/ Limitation of Lean production strategy:
Lean production has its own criticism and weakness such as the unlimited working hours. That is, managers have full control over working hours which means that if production quotas are not met then workers have to work for extra time regardless of what was the cause of this delay. “Japan Automobile Workers, has become increasingly critical of the long working hours, which seem to be virtually impossible to cut in the system of lean production, in spite of all its productivity strides” (Berggren. C, 2005). This causes stress and sense of urgency that is felt by workers and can eventually lead to social problems.
Secondly, the working environment of lean production involves doing repetitive task which can lead to health and safety problems, especially if combined with long working hours and intense pace. For example in japan, there have been reports of many cumulative trauma disorders (CTD) or repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Also in a US Mazdatransplant, there has been reports of an “unusually high incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome, damage to nerves and tendons in the hands and wrists” (Berggren, C, 2005).
Finally, many critics and employees feel that lean forces people to change rather than allow them to improve on their own. Moreover, lean pushes people out of their comfort zone in the name of eliminating waste and adding value; however, they start to have feelings of discomfort and stress. (stormy brain hubpage, 2008). For example, Many Chinese companies followed the footsteps of Japanese companies, however very few were able to imitate them. This was largely due to their different corporate structure and employee mentality. Chinese workers struggled to cope with lean production techniques. This was because Chinese employees embrace a very resistant work culture.
Nonethless, I would like to say congratulations to Lea-Artibai VET Centre for their efforts for making this project possible.