How to Apply Lean Manufacturing in Your Industry?

Lean manufacturing or lean production is a method of production that has been procured from Toyota’s operating system. The basic idea of lean manufacturing is really simple. Lean manufacturing is a method of production where the focal point is to reduce waste in the manufacturing procedure and simultaneously increase productivity.

Before heading to the further article, let me clear your doubt about waste. Waste is a matter which is not valuable for the customers and not meant to be worthy to pay for as per customers’ perspective. 

According to the Lean Enterprise Research System or LERC research report, almost 60% of productive activities of an average manufacturing process are waste and make no significance to the customers.

Lean Manufacturing

Why Does Your Company Lean Manufacturing?

The good news is this production procedure has brought a tremendous opportunity to improve most of the companies’ productivity. This particular technology allows you to produce the best quality products at quite a low cost in a short span of time and maintain customer satisfaction too.

In this competitive environment of the 21st century, all the manufacturing industries have to focus on maximum output from minimal input. In this current situation of the whole world, most of the manufacturing companies are trying to introduce fresh and inventive manufacturing techniques in their businesses for survival. Lean manufacturing has come to them as an effective solution for a competitive and lucrative business. The principal interest of lean manufacturing is to satisfy customers’ demands in lower investment.

In order to face present business complexities, lean manufacturing has brought the concept of high utilization of business resources and minimize wastes. This technology helps to find out the reason for extra wastes as well as its removal solutions. For effective implementation of lean manufacturing needs to focus on all the required details such as Cellular manufacturing (CM), Value Stream Mapping (VSM), U-line system, Inventory control, Line Balancing, Pull System, Minute Kanban, Exchange of Dies (SMED), Production Leveling, etc.

Advantages of Lean Manufacturing:

Lean manufacturing is really beneficial for any manufacturing company as this technology improves efficiency, reduces waste, and increases productivity. Therefore, the advantages are: 

Improvised product quality

Lean manufacturing increases the scope for employees and product resources to innovate new ideas and quality control that have been wasted before. 

Improved lead times

As manufacturing processes have to meet deadlines every way, lean helps to reduce lead time without hampering business development

Lean Manufacturing Company


Less waste and better adaptability complement a business that is well equipped to thrive in the long run.  

Employee satisfaction

Workers often have to deal with unnecessary work in their daily routine which affects their morale and motivation to work. However, lean manufacturing not only enhances productivity but also promotes employee satisfaction.

Increased profits

Higher productivity with better quality and reduced waste generation makes a company more profitable and worthwhile.

Disadvantages of Lean Manufacturing

Apart from being so helpful to the industrial sector, lean manufacturing also comes with certain disadvantages. Here are some of the setbacks followed by respective strategies to avoid them from affecting your organization’s success:

Lack of Strategic Focus

A major reason behind the downfall of many companies is they are adopting lean manufacturing not strategically but focusing on tactics. In doing so,  they are actually distracting from the practical scenario. Consequently, the organization flounders. 

The solution to this is straight and simple. That is,  the managers need to frame their lean initiatives on a well-aligned and clearer strategy right from the beginning.  

Lack of Proper IT Systems

A procedure like lean which is driven by complex procedures such as TQM and JIT requires robust IT systems. Therefore, the primary key stage of any lean manufacturing venture is to arrange an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to enable strategic formulation and rigorous planning.

The Time Factor

Lean is more than just a set of tools that you require to set onto existing manufacturing processes. That’s the reason it’s so time taking and very disruptive. Consequently, productivity falls off in the near run because of the changed work methods.

For this reason, it is required to plan out a long-term approach and establish obligatory software along with other advanced systems to ensure things run smoothly right from the beginning

The Human Factor

Lean is a new, radical way to do things while your workforce is serving the front-line. Necessary operational modifications are many. Workers must work according to the self-made teams that can resolve the problems themselves other than being under the management direction, for instance. Changes always lead to stress and it’s especially in a system like the lean, which consistently stays focused on the outcome. 

The solution is to strategically fit lean manufacturing into company culture, provide timely, thorough training, and establish clear targets and guidelines.

Lean Manufacturing Process

Five Principles of Lean Manufacturing 

  1. Value: Value depends on customer demands for a specific product. For instance, the deadline to manufacture and deliver the finished goods, the purchase cost, other relevant requirements and expectations which are to be met, and more. All these details contribute to defining “value”.
  2. Value stream: Once the end goal (value) is determined, the second step is value streaming or mapping all the processes and steps included in making a particular product from raw materials and delivering the finished product to the required customer. 
  3. Flow: Once the waste is removed from value mapping, the third step is to ensure that the remaining steps smoothly flow without any interruptions, bottlenecks, or delays. 
  4. Pull: The time to customer (or time to market) dramatically improves with an improved flow in the process. This makes the entire process easier to deliver the required final product, as in “on time” production or delivery.
  5. Perfection: Completion of Steps 1 to 4 is a good start, but the last step is supposedly the most significant one: as it involves the lean strategy and process improvement part of your corporate environment. 

8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing

There are 8 wastes of lean manufacturing, as:


Defects impact time, money, resources, and customer satisfaction. Specific Defect causes include:

  • Poor quality control in manufacturing
  • Inaccurate machine repair
  • Insufficient documentation
  • Poor standard procedure
  • Misperception about customers’ demand
  • Improper levels of inventory 

Excess Processing

Excess processing is a sign of a poorly designed process. Examples of excess processing include:

  • Lack of communication
  • Failing to understand customers’ needs
  • Manual fallacy 
  • Lingered manufacturing process 


When components are produced before they are required by the next downstream process, overproduction occurs. Common causes:

  • The procedure is not trust-worthy
  • Unsteady production timing
  • Poor automation


Waiting can include people, material equipment (prior runs not finished), or idle equipment (mechanical downtime or excess changeover time). Common causes:

  • Unplanned equipment
  • Delayed lead time
  • Lack of communication 


Inventory is considered a form of waste because of the related holding costs. Common causes: 

  • Overproduction of goods
  • Delayed production schedule
  • Inadequate Inventory  


The poor plant design can cause waste in transportation. Transportation Waste includes:

  • Delayed resource handling systems
  • Large Batch sizes Exaggerated Batch sizes
  • Improper design of production systems


Motion costs money. This not only includes raw materials but also people and equipment. Motion Waste examples:

  • Incorrect production planning
  • Poor quality process design
  • Poor production standards 

Non-Utilized Talent

The eighth waste is the only lean manufacturing waste that is not manufacturing-process specific.  This type of manufacturing waste occurs when management in a manufacturing environment fails to ensure that all their potential employee talent is being utilized.   

Examples of Non-Utilized Talent:

  • Miscommunication
  • Unimportant production policies
  • Inadequate team training

Lean Manufacturing Tools & Techniques:

Several different techniques and methodologies of lean manufacturing have been implemented to identify the inadequacy of the manufacturing procedures and find out the best possible solution to overcome those insufficiencies. Some tools of lean manufacturing are: 

Six Sigma

The term “Six Sigma” means a very high-quality percentage based on a standard deviation of the process. It is developed by Motorola in the year 1980. Six Sigma follows the business strategy by using statistical analysis and quality management philosophy for getting perfect business output.

Value Stream Mapping

This process focuses on material and information flow mapping. It is a lean tool that analyses the present and future of the manufacturing process from production to delivery.  


A set of five Japanese words 5S refers to  Sorting, Straighten, Sweeping, Standardizing, and Sustaining. 5S describes how to organize a workplace that is effective and efficient for identifying and storing production resources and continuous review and revise the procedure for manufacturing techniques. 


Kanban is a Japanese term that refers to visual cards. It is a lean tool developed to deduct the idle time of any production process. The focal point of the Kanban system is to deliver resources and components in a time of need.


This Japanese term Poka-Yoke means “mistake-proofing”. This process helps to identify the errors of any equipment operator and focus on eliminating manufacturing defects by checking, correcting, and building solution mechanisms for the occurred errors. 

Lean Manufacturing Types

Future of Lean Manufacturing is Here

Lean manufacturing can be broadly effective in the future. Proper implementation and well-planned lean manufacturing techniques can bring noticeable improvements in productivity. You can suggest this collaborative thinking to your suppliers too so that they can also generate their improvements.

The elimination of 8 wastes of lean manufacturing will make the entire production process much easier and transparent in the future. 

Pursuing MCA from the University of Delhi, Saurabh Saha is an experienced blogger and internet marketer. Through his popular technology blogs: TechGYD.COM &, he is helping several brands to gain exposure in front of high-quality web visitors.