Lean (lean production, lean manufacturing) is a concept for managing a manufacturing enterprise based on the constant desire to eliminate all types of losses. Such lean manufacturing systems or their components as 5S, TQM, JIT, SMED, TPM and others are widely known. Lean manufacturing implies the involvement of each employee in the process of optimizing the business and the maximum customer focus. This concept has arisen as American researchers’ interpretation of the ideas underlying Toyota manufacturing system, which has proven their effectiveness for decades.
In accordance with the concept of lean manufacturing, adopted by Toyota, all its activities are divided into operations and processes that add value to the consumer, and operations and processes that do not add value to the consumer. For example, with the traditional enterprise management system, storage costs and costs associated with rework and defects are passed on to the consumer, although they do not add value to him or her. The task of "lean production" is precisely the systematic reduction of processes and operations that do not add value.
In general, lean production is based on the elimination of losses of the following types:
- Overproduction – manufacturing products in greater volume sooner or faster than required for the next stage of the production process.
- Waiting – interruptions in work associated with waiting for people, materials, equipment or information.
- Losses during transportation – the transportation of parts or materials within the enterprise.
- Additional (redundant) processing – an effort that does not add value to the product (service) from the point of view of the consumer.
- Excessive stocks of components – any excess arrival of products in the production process, whether it be raw materials, semi-finished or finished products.
- Movements – any movement of people, tools or equipment that does not add value to the final product or service.
- Defective product – products that require inspection, sorting, utilization, downgrading, replacement or repair.
- Unrealized creative potential of employees.
- The overloading of workers, employees or facilities when working with increased intensity.
- Uneven execution of operations, for example, intermittent work schedule due to fluctuations in demand.
Taichi Ono, one of the main creators of the Toyota production system, considered overproduction the main type of loss.
The concept of "lean manufacturing" is now widely used not only in the automotive industry, but also in trade, services, community facilities, health care, the education system, the armed forces, the public administration sector and many other activities.
In the IT-Enterprise system, lean manufacturing is implemented using a PLM solution, which allows you to standardize production processes and ensure the collection of data needed to analyze the current state of production and identify losses, as well as a PDM solution that allows you to get information about where and how much losses, which of them can be reduced, what changes should be made to the project when switching to other equipment, etc.