The advantages and disadvantages of lean production at a glance
First, a brief overview of the advantages of lean production:
|Lead times||With lean production, lead times can be shortened.|
|productivity||When using lean production, productivity can be greatly increased. This is due to a higher production speed.|
|quality||The quality can be brought to a high level.|
|costs||All the advantages ensure that a company can significantly reduce its costs.|
And finally, the disadvantages of such a production:
|No reserves||Short-term disruptions or problems in the production process can hardly be compensated for by keeping stocks tight.|
|Environmental pollution||An important aspect especially in times of climate protection. Lean production means just-in-time production. However, this requires many individual smaller deliveries of material. The environment is polluted by increased emissions.|
|Low variance||Is not a disadvantage in every company. But lean production is geared towards a narrow variety of products. Can be a big problem for some businesses.|
Which requirements must be met for lean production?
The goal of Lean Production is to eliminate everything that has to do with waste in production. In order to make production more efficient with the help of a lean production process, however, certain requirements are necessary.
- Identify cost drivers: In order to implement lean production, the most important prerequisite is to first identify all cost drivers. It is only possible to turn the right screws to create further potential if the weak points are known.
- Standardize production processes: The basis for lean production is only created if all processes in production are standardized and optimized at the highest level. This does not require many individual steps, but rather a combination of different management concepts.
- New development of processes: Moreover, it is not enough to just provide the processes with a standard. It is also true that new and more efficient production processes are created.
In which areas is lean production particularly useful?
According to healthknowing, the term lean production comes from the automotive industry and was mainly coined by Toyota. Basically, lean production makes a lot of sense, especially in areas of mass production. But it can also be seen as an opportunity for many industries with its approach. Analyzing weak points, uncovering waste and putting business processes to the test make sense in almost every industry. Many companies can benefit from lean production.
Lean production using the example of Toyota
The Toyota production system, also known as TPS, was the basis for today’s lean production. The then chairman of the Toyota Motor Cooperation was forced to switch to just-in-time production due to austerity measures, an isolation policy and an existing shortage of raw materials . He wanted to achieve the greatest possible production, the best possible quality and punctual delivery to the customer. In order for Toyota to achieve this goal, the following building blocks were used:
- Just-in-time: Only what was needed for the customer orders should be produced. Stocks should be avoided through overproduction. On the other hand, not too little should be produced, because otherwise you run the risk of being unable to deliver.
- Kanban, pull principle: Taiichi Ohno from Toyota developed Kanban in 1947. Kanban is a method for controlling production. In this control, the entire manufacturing process is triggered based on an incoming order. Only what is actually needed is produced. The aim was to optimize delivery capabilities and at the same time reduce material stocks.
- Kaizen: Kaizen is made up of Kai (change) and Zen (for the better). Kaizen is a very important component within the TPS. There is a constant improvement process with the involvement of all employees. This is an important factor when it comes to saving costs. Small as well as large suggestions for improvement by employees help not only to optimize processes, but also to avoid waste.
Six Sigma a useful addition to lean production?
If you look at Six Sigma and Lean Production, you will quickly find that the two actually have nothing to do with each other. There are two very different strategies developed from one another. However, it is not uncommon for both strategies to be combined with one another. And it remains to be seen that they complement each other quite well. Six Sigma relies on statistics and these serve as the basis for optimizing production processes. The focus is primarily on customer satisfaction and the quality of the product. If a company produces according to the Six Sigma strategy, this means that only 3 or 4 mistakes out of a million possible mistakes happen. Six Sigma is therefore very often used as a synonym for zero-error tolerance.
Many positive results can be achieved with Lean Production in terms of shortening lead times, higher productivity and inventory reduction. This is completely undisputed. But there are still many companies in Germany that are reluctant to lean production or lean management. The introduction often fails because all employees and suppliers have to be included and at the same time something like a cultural change has to be carried out. Many companies therefore prefer to use some lean production techniques, but they certainly do not have the full effect.