Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Historically, the total avoidance or reduction of waste has been a serious idea throughout history. Truly, this idea is now seen as the most key principles to lean manufacturing have been over the year been discovered and rediscovered by researchers, industrialist and others to reduce waste to the lowest. Most of the very basic goals of waste reduction thinking are related to human common sense as most early pre 20th century thinkers in waste reduction theory like Benjamin Franklin pointed out that avoiding unnecessary cost could be very profitable than trying to always increase sales at the expense of cost. Richard explained that, a penny saved is two pence clear. Motion efficiency expert Frank Gilbreth who critically observed the work of masons who at that time were picking bricks with weight 2.3kg by bending and picking them from the floor. Frank therefore observed the in-efficiencies that have been built in the building industry through long practice, he therefore introduced the non-stooping scaffold which reduced the inefficiencies by delivering the bricks to the waist level of the mason.   

In the 20th century, the individual credited as the father of scientific management (Frederick Winslow Taylor) introduced standardization and best practices. Taylor explained that, whenever a workman proposes an improvement, it should be the policy of the management to make a careful analysis of the new method, and if necessary conduct a series of experiments to determine accurately the relative merit of the new suggestion and of the old standard. And whenever the new method is found to be markedly superior to the old, it should be adopted as the standard for the whole establishment." In the 1910s, the American Industrialist recognized the threat of cheap offshore labor to the indigenous American workers and stated the goal of what is now called lean manufacturing as countermeasure.The figure below show the timelines of lean manufacturing;picture can be more clearly if by clicking on the original size  .

                                               FIG 1 Lean Time lines

Henry Ford upon the earlier works Franklin and others set the ball rolling by developing the mass assembly manufacturing system. Later, he also developed the concept of design for manufacturing which also states that as the useless part in a product is cut out and simplify necessary ones it hugely cuts down the overall cost of the product. Ford also using the concept of standardization in his mass production and also “manufacturing tolerance  ” which states that the upper and the lower dimensions that makes interchangeability easy in the manufacturing industry.

The modern idea of lean manufacturing is much focus on the idea of Sakichi Toyoda, in japan around the 1934 in the textile industry, which was later, transferred into the automobile industry. After the World War II, the Japan economy was down and so Taiichi Ohno recognized the fact that the scheduling of work should not be sole driven by production targets but should be focus on real actual targets. Given the economic crises at that period over-production had to be totally avoided and so the idea of “pull“ was introduced in production scheduling. Taichi Ohno built on the earlier waste reduction thinking ideas I have discussed and introduced what is known today as Toyota Production Systems. The continuous improvement of Ohno’s TPS has made it a core concept of lean Manufacturing.

Today lean manufacturing is a global strategy for the achievement of significant and continuous performance by means of the elimination of all waste of time and resources in the business process.Today companies like Nike,Toyota, General Motors,General Electric,Boeing Everett has use lean manufacturing process to cut down waste and enhancing environmental sustainability. Strategically, lean manufacturing eliminates all non-value adding or waste. In this context waste includes over processing, overproduction, rework, and transportation-unnecessary movement of people or parts between processes, unnecessary movement of people, parts or machine within a process, waiting and last is inventory or work in progress which does not have any value been added to it. The ultimate intended goal for lean manufacturing is creating a responsive and flexible business environment, people and processes in place to create a capability for rapid improvement and systems for the careful application of resources.

                                           FIG 2 Components of lean manufacturing 

The question is looking at the time series analysis outlined, readers should comments on how they believe would be the new development as far as learn manufacturing is concern considering the environment implication.



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