Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is a business model and collection of tactical methods that emphasize eliminating non-value added activities (waste) while delivering quality products on time at least cost with greater efficiency. In the U.S., lean implementation is rapidly expanding throughout diverse manufacturing and service sectors such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, furniture production, and health care as a core business strategy to create a competitive advantage. Source: EPA

Lean Thinking and Methods by EPA
  • 5S is a system to reduce waste and optimize productivity through maintaining an orderly workplace and using visual cues to achieve more consistent operational results. Implementation of this method “cleans up” and organizes the workplace basically in its existing configuration, and it is typically the first lean method which organizations implement.
Cellular Manufacturing
  • In cellular manufacturing, production work stations and equipment are arranged in a sequence that supports a smooth flow of materials and components through the production process with minimal transport or delay. Implementation of this lean method often represents the first major shift in production activity, and it is the key enabler of increased production velocity and flexibility, as well as the reduction of capital requirements.
Seven Deadly Wastes
  • Overproduction, Waiting, Transport, Motion, Overprocessing, Inventory and Defects
Hoshin Kanri (also called Policy Deployment)
  • Hoshin Kanri (also called Policy Deployment) is a method for ensuring that the strategic goals of a company drive progress and action at every level within that company. This eliminates the waste that comes from inconsistent direction and poor communication.
Kaizen or Continuous Improvement
  • Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) is a strategy where employees at all levels of a company work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements to the manufacturing process. In a sense, it combines the collective talents within a company to create a powerful engine for improvement.
Top Losses
  • Time is precious, so spend that time fixing the most important things — your top sources of lost manufacturing productivity. Track your Top Losses. Pick the biggest actionable loss. Fix it. Repeat.
Down Time Tips
  • Down Time is the largest source of lost productivity for most manufacturers, and it is often the place where the fastest gains can be made.
TMP – Total Productive Maintenance
  • TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) is a holistic approach to equipment maintenance that strives to achieve perfect production
OEE – Overall Equipment Effectiveness

OEE measures how close you are to perfect production (manufacturing only good parts, as fast as possible, with no down time). It is a great metric for benchmarking progress in improving manufacturing productivity (i.e., eliminating waste).

IFA – Information, Focus, Action

Most companies place too much emphasis on results (looking backward) and too little emphasis on the factors that drive results: Information (the basis for effective decisions), Focus (making effective decisions), and Action (transforming decisions to results).

Improve The Constraint

Each manufacturing process has a constraint (bottleneck). Focusing improvement efforts on the constraint is the fastest path to improved productivity.


Inspire others to do their best work and you leverage your most important resource – people. Leadership is a learned skill. Improve your effectiveness as a leader and you improve your ability to create and accelerate change.

Short Interval Control

Quick and focused reviews of performance data during the shift enable ongoing course corrections and small-scale fixes that collectively result in significant improvements in performance. Look at the immediate past to guide actions for the immediate future.

Single-Minute Exchange of Dies

Changeover times can typically be reduced to less than 10 minutes (i.e., single-digit minutes). Analyze each element of the changeover to see if it can be separated (moved external to the changeover), converted (modified to be external), or streamlined.