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06/15/2009

 
169
8
Lean Manufacturing
Adi Choudri 
The term “lean” has been coined relatively recently to summarize Japanese manu-facturing philosophy, especially as exemplified by the Toyota system. Lean practiceshave appeared in other forms such as “just-in time” manufacturing, and “synchro-nous” or “quick response” manufacturing in the sense that the underlying conceptsare the same. The survival of an organization, whether profit or nonprofit, manufac-turing or service oriented, may ultimately depend on its ability to systematically andcontinuously eliminate waste and add value to its products from its customers’perspective. Interestingly, lean practices in their simplest form are founded oncommon sense, and most of them are not even proprietary to any company. Thebusiness objective of lean is to make high-quality products at a lower cost with speedand agility (Figure 8.1). This can certainly lead to an expanded customer base,greater business and employment stability, and increased shareholder value. Becausewe are not talking about a magical approach here, this generally means that therelative success of lean manufacturing in a specific setting depends on how well thecultural, behavioral, and strategic aspects of the corporate entity were addressedduring the lean journey. This also means that the vigor and sincerity of people, bothhands-on and off-the-floor, will drive and guide the success of the lean approach.Lean practices are designed to eliminate waste and enhance the value of thecompany’s products to its customers. Lean businesses compete by creating temporarycost, quality, and speed advantages in focused business areas, but they cannot remainstagnant and rest on their laurels because, as mentioned before, these practices canand will be used by competitors probably with lessons learned. The only way tocounter this is to develop a corporate mindset where everyone is focused on con-tinuous improvement every day in everything they do leading to customer delight.Lean manufacturing is not a secret technology in either the product or theprocess. It can be applied to all kinds of industries and all types of companies,including high volume, job shop, or process. We also know now that the culture andvalue system of the workforce probably have less to do with the success of lean.The key to lean manufacturing success lies in the careful integration of productionand management practices into a complete management system that generates acollaborative atmosphere of mutual trust and respect between management and labor.Many manufacturing and management practices can be implemented individuallyand may result in cost and quality improvements. Such gradual change is consistentwith the lean concept of continuous improvement and is frequently practiced bymany corporations during their initial lean journey. However, an accelerating rateof improvement results when the different subsystems of the lean manufacturingsystem are in place and have been so for several years. For example, it is often found
© 2002 by CRC Press LLC
 
170
The Manufacturing Handbook of Best Practices
that sometimes a company will start with a total preventative maintenance (TPM)effort because it was having dif 
culty with equipment uptime or frequent productiondisruption due to breakdowns. In some cases (Figure 8.2), the company starts onthe lean journey with a total quality management approach to improve yield orprocess capability and eventually ends up addressing all the subsystems of the leanmanufacturing system. Sometimes a company can do a lean self-assessment as shownin Appendix 8.1 to get a feel for where its initial shortcomings are, and develop alean implementation plan. It is important to note that a manufacturing companyeventually needs to address all the different aspects of lean, no matter where it startsits lean journey, and must continue on that path until perfection is reached.
8.1LEAN MANUFACTURING CONCEPTS AND TOOLS
These concepts and tools can be organized into three levels. The
rst level encom-passes lean manufacturing objectives and basic principles such as value and waste.These are general concepts, which should be taught to all the employees of a leanmanufacturing enterprise, and are increasingly being applied to nonmanufacturingsupport areas such as product development or business processes.
FIGURE 8.1
Quality and cost.
FIGURE 8.2
Lean start wheel.
Quality
Cost
 
n un h An  p 
 
People
© 2002 by CRC Press LLC
 
Lean Manufacturing
171
The next level contains lean manufacturing primary management and productionstrategies used to achieve the objectives and instill basic principles. The strategiesare general rules for management behavior, and support one another as well as thebasic principles. The third level of lean manufacturing consists of implementationtechniques, which are the practices and procedures for implementing and maintain-ing the strategies. Although these levels are somewhat arbitrary and are not alwaysfollowed rigorously outside the Toyota production system, it is important to notethat each level is built on the solid foundation of the previous level. It helps under-score the point that without the complete system, long-term lean manufacturingsuccess is not sustainable.Lean manufacturing objectives and principles are adapted from the Toyota produc-tion system and over the years have been enhanced by lean practitioners such as JimWomack, Dr. Schoenberger, and numerous corporations and nonpro
t organizationssuch as Lean Aerospace Initiative at MIT, Lean Enterprise Institute, and others.
8.1.1L
EAN
O
BJECTIVES
The basic business objective of a manufacturing corporation is long-term pro
tabilitybecause it is essential to the continued existence of any corporation. To achieve long-term pro
tability, a company must (1) produce products with quality consistentlyas high as the best in its class, (2) ensure that production costs are competitive withmost manufacturers, and (3) deliver a product
service mix that is competitive withthe best in its class as well.Lean manufacturing helps a company stay competitive by serving its customersbetter and continuously reducing costs. Lean gives customers the product varietythey want, in the quantity they want, and without paying extra for a small-lot size.Lean makes a company
exible enough so that customer demands for change canbe accommodated quickly, using lean techniques such as small-lot production.Why do we need lean manufacturing? Simply, the answer is pro
t squeeze(Figure 8.3).In the past, companies simply passed costs on to the customer. The pricingformula wasCost + Pro
t = PriceIn today
s competitive market, customers insist on a competitive market as wellas world-class quality and product features. This means that companies must reducecosts to make a pro
t:Price
Cost = Pro
tLean manufacturing gives a company a key competitive advantage by allowingit to build high-quality products inexpensively because consumers,
not manufacturers
,set prices and determine the acceptability of the products and services they use.Lean manufacturing achieves the above three objectives by adhering to three keybasic principles:
definition of value, elimination of waste, and support the worker.
© 2002 by CRC Press LLC

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