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How Lean Manufacturing can reduce the waste of time within companies ?

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Toyota Production System or TPS is a contemporary method of managing production within an industrial company.

In “ The Machine that Changes the World: The Story of Lean Production book, Womack, Jones and Roos presented “ lean production” or “lean manufacturing” as a synonymous of TPS.

The primary objective of lean manufacturing is the provision of bespoke final products to customers, thus perfectly responding to their needs without adding any “non-value” cost. To accomplish this objective, companies adopt a particular production process founded on supplementing value and reducing (or deleting) “Muda” (a Japanese word of “waste” or non-value added activity).

So as to eliminate waste during the production process, industrial companies implement specific tools that are integrated in a large “lean manufacturing strategy”. The efficiency of this strategy should take into consideration a key step: identifying then classifying the process activities into two categories. The first category contains all the operations with added value to the final customer, while the second one does not. Identifying those steps requires consideration of seven types of Muda.

Types of waste during production [1]

Efforts to improve existing businesses can possibly turn out to be irrelevant upon the creation of new products or processes. This is mainly due to the fact that lean manufacturing is considered to be merely an improvement method.

Joseph Schumpeter (a great economist of the first half of the 20th century) examined the role of innovation in economic development. According to him, innovation means the creation of new products, methods of production, supply resources, markets, and ways of organising the business.

In companies, the human potential is often under-exploited. Thanks to the employees’ involvement and their continuous improvement, there is an enormous ability to reduce production defects on products. But companies employ people as labour, and forget that they can be a great source of improvement by encouraging them to suggest improvement methods and express themselves freely in their work. It is only by emphasising on employees’ creativity that companies can both eliminate “Muda” and meet customers’ expectations in the most efficient manners.

A lean strategy associated to innovation attempts to involve the whole stuff in the implementation of lean strategy and to transform every employee to a master problem solver, which creates an enormous organisational capability to continuously generate new ideas and solutions.

Rajaa , Consultant, Leyton France