Principles Of Lean Manufacturing: When Exactly Should You Consider Implementing Lean Manufacturing?

principles of lean manufacturing

Today, many companies have different meanings for the term “lean manufacturing.” However, the generally accepted definition is that lean manufacturing is a philosophy that focuses on the reduction & elimination of waste in an organization. It’s pretty simple; with this management philosophy, your company can easily eliminate or lower waste and increase its overall profitability. For you to implement this philosophy, you need to first understand the principles of lean manufacturing.

In the rest of this post, you’ll find all you should know about lean manufacturing, including the following:

  • What exactly are the principles of lean manufacturing?
  • When is the right time to implement lean manufacturing?
  • How can the 5S guides help lean implementation?

Tips on how to apply the principles of lean manufacturing

Below are some effective tips for applying lean manufacturing in your organization:

1.   Eliminate waste

Elimination or reduction of waste is one of the primary principles of lean manufacturing. So, to apply lean manufacturing, we’ll advise that you start by removing waste. There are a couple of options for you at this stage. You can either start by taking advantage of a value stream analysis to better understand and identify your waste.

Alternatively, you can make use of a reliable visual scheduling tool, such as Advanced Planning and Scheduling Software (APS), to identify bottlenecks & constraints during your production.

2.   Lean inventory management

principles of lean manufacturingAnother effective way to apply the principles of lean manufacturing in your organization is by lowering unnecessary inventory. In case you don’t know, it costs a lot of money and effort to keep and maintain excess inventory.

To save cost, you can reduce your excess inventory by:

  • Getting raw materials only as you need them. In addition, you should focus on only obtaining the quantities needed.
  • Next, you can also consider lowering buffer inventory between various process steps.
  • Consider moving to the Kanban system of manufacturing.


3.   Lower your production cycles

Another effective tip for applying lean manufacturing is by reducing your production cycles. With this move, you’ll be able to improve your on-time delivery rate. For you to lower your cycle times, you need to start by establishing a goal for them. Establishing a goal for your cycle times requires you to understand how a competitive lead time looks. After this, you can proceed and make your cycle time to be a fraction (usually one-third) of this lead time.

4.   Increase response time

Another effective way to apply the principles of lean manufacturing is by increasing your response time. With this move, it’ll become pretty easy for you to capitalize on any market changes in your industry.

5.   Consider employee autonomy

By giving your employees autonomy, you’re simply encouraging them to become independent and great problem solvers. This move will provide your employees with enough space to develop relevant leadership skills.

When should you start applying the principles of lean manufacturing?

To a lot of people, “right away” is the answer to this question. But is the implementation of lean manufacturing right away effective for all businesses?

For you to decide when to start implementing lean manufacturing, below is one factor you certainly want to consider:

  • Are you looking to make key changes to your organization’s leadership roles? If yes, the right time to implement lean is when you’ve successfully brought in a new leader, such as a plant manager.

Is 5S important when applying lean manufacturing?

Left to us, we’ll say that 5S guides are the first stepping stone toward applying lean manufacturing in any organization. With the 5S methodology, it’ll become very easy for your organization to minimize waste and maximize value. You can check out our comprehensive best practice (5S) Guides to better understand when and how to start implementing an effective lean program in your organization.

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