How does Lean Manufacturing help reduce waste?

According to Wikipedia, lean manufacturing dates back to before the war in the 1950s and 1960s when the operational model was implemented by the Japanese automobile company, Toyota. Nowadays, it is a commonly used production method that can result in reduced waste, quicker response times, and enhanced productivity.

Minimizing waste is one of the most popular reasons for implementing lean manufacturing into a business, cutting out significant costs by decreasing the amount of waste produced on an ongoing basis. By getting all employees engaged, not only can they improve how they go about their daily duties, but business productivity increases to create a mutually beneficial way of working. Initially, it may seem difficult to decrease the amount of waste produced, battling through resources from LEAN VIDEOS and free lean guides to get an understanding of how it works, but here are some of the basic ways lean methodology can help achieve goals:

Avoid overprocessing

In many cases of poor processes, over-production is considered necessary to account for any issues that may have arisen during the day or for forecasts that may be outdated or inaccurate. Lean principles use more analytical processes that determine production based on a series of events as and when they happen, tracking the outputs to ensure that any gaps are closed and that any unnecessary steps from a process can be ironed out. This way, only the output that is needed is produced, avoiding both under and over-production.

Cut out labor costs

As well as waste materials, overproduction cuts out time, manpower, and resources. By eliminating this unnecessary production of goods, one of the biggest costs to an organization can be minimized on an ongoing basis to allow the budget to be invested back into the business elsewhere. With sufficient planning, the quantity of production can be calculated to meet customer demand whilst ensuring that machinery times are well utilized, avoiding unnecessary waste through energy, manpower, and inventory.

Keep an organized inventory

If a business over forecasts the amount of stock they think it will need, the unsold products will be left sitting in the inventory. This can become a strain on storage space and potentially hinder other areas of the business, all while the stock left sitting in the back room may be losing its value as time goes on and demand dips. Lean manufacturing cuts out excess stock by creating production output off the back of customer demand, using current sales figures to create more reliable data that can be used to determine the condition of the current market. This reduces the strain on the inventory in the warehouse and means a business can utilize its existing space more effectively, not having to reduce its working area or pay for additional storage.

Minimize transport

A fleet of vehicles and the ongoing emissions produced is a huge contributors to financial loss from waste. Although necessary, improving processes to cut out unnecessary journeys and keep delivery issues to a minimum can transform how a business operates. Any transport routes should be decided on by customer demand and the inventory that is being produced during a certain period, creating an accurate plan that will prevent holdups and last-minute rushes.

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