Competing successfully will mean more and more for companies to continuously improve production approaches, engage customer response needs, reduce/mitigate/eliminate costs, improve product quality and functionality, and maintain or reduce prices. This strategy often requires shortening innovation and development times, constantly experimenting with product and production process formulations, and rapidly modifying used raw materials, process equipment, operating parameters and outputs.
To achieve these objectives Lean Manufacturing promotes a fundamental rethink of how to produce and deliver goods and services and meet production challenges.
To a large extent this rethinking represents a fundamental paradigm shift from mass production of "batches and lines" to production systems based on a system of "piece by piece flow and pull production".
Batch and line systems involve the mass production of large stocks in advance in which each functional department is designed to minimize marginal unit cost by producing large quantities of similar product with minimal changes in machines and tools. Lot and line involves the use of large machines, large production volumes and long production times. The system also requires companies to produce products based on potential or anticipated customer orders rather than the actual firm order, due to the time delay associated with the production of goods by the functional department of lots and lines. In many cases this system can be highly inefficient and wasteful. This is primarily due to the fact that substantial "work in process" is suspended while other functional departments complete their units, as well as the maintenance costs and building space associated with "work in progress" on the shop floor.
Alternatively, Lean seeks to reorganize departmental and batch production activities in a continuous flow so that processing steps of different types are conducted immediately adjacent to each other in "product teams," that is, in a continuous, one-piece flow. Under this process the shop floor will either wait for the customer's specific request or pull before producing the product. If Lean is implemented correctly a change in order can be responded to immediately without the loss of stocks associated with batch and line production. This can eliminate the need to work with uncertain forecasts, as well as the waste associated with unsuccessful forecasts.
In addition to this paradigm shift from batch and line flow to single piece or piece-to-piece, Lean Manufacturing seeks a systematic elimination of all possible forms of cost without added value. In essence, pollution, for example, is a manifestation of economic waste and is a sign of production inefficiency that reveals flaws in product design or production processes. It is the unnecessary, inefficient or incomplete use of a resource, or represents a resource that is not being used as efficiently as possible. This, in turn, can, for example, lead to unnecessary costs without added value in pollution control. Lean Manufacturing systematically reduces waste, including environmental waste, through a systematic assessment of the costs and values associated with a product or service. This assessment essentially involves five key points: Specifying value, Identifying and mapping the value chain, Creating continuous flow, "consumer-driven" production and Seeking perfection.
Remember that today is tomorrow that you were worried about yesterday and that "The best way to prepare for the future is to concentrate all your imagination and enthusiasm on the perfect execution of today's work" - Dale Carnegie, so accept the challenge.
Start, Go, Walk, Run, Drive... LEAN

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