A LEAN MANUFACTURING philosophy focuses on increasing efficiency by reducing waste. Specific areas under the lens are over-production, over-processing, production lags, motion wastage, transportation and inventory controls.
Here’s a look at some of the globally successful businesses that owe their success to the lean manufacturing philosophy.
The Toyota Way!
Toyota Production System is the pioneer of ‘Lean Manufacturing Process’ as a philosophy. Referred to as TPS in short or famously as the Toyota Way.
TPS is a philosophy of organisational design (OD) that considers the engagement between human resources and equipment/technology. TPS is so structured that weeds out ‘overproduction’ and waste (in the form of resources including ‘time’). TPS believes that the process in place should not be rigid but should be able to accommodate any change, as may be necessary, easily.
The Ford Production System!
Henry Ford observed that while spending money on improving a process was often seen as a wasteful expenditure, it was actually necessary to get more efficient and reducing waste.
This Ford system predates the TPS and introduced the assembly line process to manufacturing. Ford standardised the product which meant a standardised production process was to be followed. Ford started building standard vehicles but in very big numbers. This concept level intervention meant that the production method became very efficient leading to an output (car) at a lower cost.
The Caterpillar Production System (CPS)
This one is Caterpillar’s answer to the Toyota Production System. The CPS is implemented for plant production as well as for Product Design, Purchasing, Supply Chain and Quality.
Caterpillar has made the best use of its resources ever since CPS was introduced in 2004-05. And the results have shown far superior top-line and bottom-line growth since then. Caterpillar now benefits from constant product innovation, customer delight, environment-friendly production model, zero defect product, detailed process planning, efficient SCM system, and more.
Nike’s Lean Swoosh
Nike has a simple philosophy these days and it is “Make Today Better”. For producing the best quality of products on a consistent basis Nike adopted the lean manufacturing system.
Nike’s introduced this manufacturing system in some of its supplier (contracted) factories. Later Nike compared these factories against factories that did not implement the lean methods. The results validated this new strategy. The ‘lean’ factories showed significantly (50%) lower defect rates, 40% faster deliveries, 10-20% higher productivity, etc.