Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lean Management: The Need of the Hour!!

Every Organization today is trying to provide the best of the quality product at the cheapest possible rates to its customers. But, no organization can run on for a long time if the basic cost of production remain high while reducing the price. Thus, the rule of thumb is to reduce the cost of production as much as possible. The concept of Lean Manufacture comes in tot scene at this particular point. Any expense that has no-value addition to the products should and must be curtailed. It is not just reducing the production cost, it directly or indirectly increases the value of the product. The value of the product is defined as any action or process that the customers are willing to pay for.
Lean manufacture is centered on preserving value with less work.”
The philosophy of Lean manufacture is mainly derived from “TOYOTA” hence often called as “Toyotism”. The Toyota Production System (TPS) brings in the concept of this Lean into their production. Toyota recognized “seven wastes” to streamline its production and improve overall customer value.  The Lean Principle was derived from the Japanese manufacturing Industry. The word Lean Manufacturing was first coined by John Krafcik, a masters’ student of MIT, in 1988.
The emphasis here is about the elimination of the unwanted wasteful activities that are there in the system. This can range from extra manpower to bring a component to functionally usable condition or time last because the other components that are required to complete the product or service are yet not available. Consumers are not willing to pay for these sort of out of the way expenses.
Now, after having talked so much about the consumers’ will and the organizations’ requirement. The question comes how to achieve this? What sort of plan of action can bring in the leanness in the operations? Many organizations have many ways to streamline their operations based on which suits them the best and which is more convenient for them to adapt to. However, the basic concepts are more or less the same. Let’s see a few of them what they are and how they work.
To list a few: SMED, Value Stream mapping, Five S, Total Productive maintenance, Poka-Yoke,  Eliminate 3M etc..
Five S: This is an interesting method employed for the elimination of waste from the operations. This concept was taken from the Japanese words:
Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke.  Now, that looks really difficult to interpret. The translation of this 5S almost clears the air about it.
Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardized and Sustain.
The work place needs to be in a way that the production process is in line. The right thing should be available at the right time to the right person. The place should be kept tidy all the time. The process need to be standardized and maintained for.
Eliminated 3M: Muda, Muri, Mura.
Muda (Non-Value adding work), Muri (Overburden), Mura (Unevenness).
This was widely employed by Toyota organizations. The company strongly emphasized that any activity that does not produce any added advantage must stop. There is literally no meaning in doing any action that the customer is not willing to pay attention to and pay for as well.
It’s equally important that all the work is split equally on time and workers. It would only lead to more defects if this is ensured. And there must be evenness in the work. An organization that makes sure that these factors are taken care of.
Poka-Yoke: This emphasizes on the need of measures that reduce the chance of errors. The proper techniques must be used to make sure the chance of human and mechanical errors are reduced to minimum.
Now, the center of the talk that we can draw from this is that Lean Management is the set of tools that the organization pitch in to make their customers feel that they pay for what they want and appreciate, reducing the unwanted expenses on the pocket of customers and the organizations as well.

Reference: WikiPedia, and Internet, Information available on open public domain

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