“Lean Manufacturing” is a concept designed by Toyota Production System to provide the best results from implementation to delivery of the product for their end users. It is one of many systems designed to increase efficiency and decrease waste within the manufacturing environment. The primary consideration for the process is to understand the value of the product or services to the final consumer and structure the business around that result.  There are several key principles to the lean system. Here is an overview of what they are and how to use them in your environment.

  1. What is the value for the customer? The first step is to determine what the end result should be. What would the consumer believe the biggest value of the product to be, and how can you implement that from the beginning of the process? Once you’ve identified your target, you can eliminate any unnecessary procedures.
  2. Identify the steps of the process. Once you determine what the end result should be, it is time to consider all of the steps to get you from the start of development to the final product. Identifying these steps will help you see which practices enhance the product and which do not.
  3. Create a flow. Once you know what the steps are, you need to determine how to make those steps flow into one another in the most efficient way possible. You will determine how many individuals you need along the way and what they can contribute to the system most effectively.
  4. Only manufacture what is sold. The key to the lean system is to not produce surplus. The goal is to manufacture only the products that your end consumer will purchase. This will reduce unnecessary cost since profit for your products will offset your costs without the need for storing excess or determining how to sell the product to non-customers.
  5. Continuously re-evaluate. Once processes are in place, continue to review what you’re doing and how you can improve with a focus on removing waste from the process. There are always subtle changes that can be made to make any system more efficient.

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