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5 Things You Should Know About Lean Manufacturing

In the past decade, Chinese manufacturers have embraced new methodologies and techniques to meet the increasing needs of the world.

Of all the new approaches, lean manufacturing may be one of the most commonly used.

Lean manufacturing helps organizations optimize their business process so they can speed up production to market products, cut costs, and improve quality.

As your company may begin to consider lean manufacturing, this article will explain everything you should understand before you jump into it.

1. What is Lean Manufacturing?

First thing first, what is lean manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing, lean production, or simply “lean” is a systematic methodology designed to minimize waste in a manufacturing operation while productivity remains constant.

In simple terms, lean manufacturing is an approach to managing manufacturing processes that aim to improve flow, eliminate waste and increase efficiency.

2. What Are The 5 Lean Manufacturing Principles?

Lean manufacturing was designed to optimize the use of materials, production lines, production processes and logistics.

There are five principles for lean production.

Identify Value

An accurate understanding of the value assigned to products or services is the first principle.

In this case, you need to keep in mind that:

-What are your needs and expectations?

-When do you need the supplier to finish your order?

-How much will you pay?

Map A Value Stream

As the ultimate goal of lean is to eliminate wastes, removing any wasteful practices by mapping A value stream is important.

Create Flow

Look at every step in your work process and eliminate points of making waste. If there are steps that do not create value as expected, remove them and redesign the flow.

 Ensure a smooth process that can be undertaken with minimal delay or waste.

Establish a Pull System

In a pull system, units are produced based on current demand.

It sharply contrasts with a push system, in which items are produced based on forecast demand.

The pull-based system ensures that products will be produced as scheduled in needed quantity.

Seek Perfection

Continuously dig deeper and measure to achieve a perfect lean process.

3. The 8 Types Of Waste

The eight types of waste in lean manufacturing can be acronymized as “DOWNTIME”, which means defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized talent, transportation, inventory, motion, extra-processing.


Defects occur when the products are not fit for use.

This typically results in either reworking or scrapping the product. Both results are wasteful as they add additional costs to the operations without delivering any value.


In the paperwork stage, overproduction may involve extra documentation and reports, or too many meetings without action.

In the manufacturing stage, overproduction could include making more products than actual demand.


Waiting means the waiting time between processes. It can be included as follow:

  • Waiting for the actual operation
  • Waiting for the materials or equipment
  • The workers wait on the direction between tasks.

Non-Utilized Talent

Non-utilized talent or unused human talent means the waste of human potential.

  • Do you train your people accordingly?
  • Are your workers in the right positions?
  • Are there any possibilities to improve your team in communication and efficiency?


The waste in transportation includes the movement of people, tools, inventory, equipment, or products further than necessary.


Waste in inventory means making and storing extra materials or products than needed.


The waste in motion includes any unnecessary movement of people, equipment, or machinery.


Extra-processing refers to doing more work, adding more components, or having more steps in a product or service.

4. What Are The Benefits Of Lean Manufacturing?

There are some across-the-board benefits of implementing lean principles. These include:

  • Eliminate Waste
  • Reduce Costs
  • Improve Quality
  • Shorten Time
  • Improve Overall Efficiency

5. How Can You Implement Lean Manufacturing?

In an industry that is under tremendous pressure to improve productivity and quality while reducing costs, lean manufacturing is an everyday expectation. Shield Works is your perfect partner to assist you every step of the way.

With over 15,000 projects completed, our clients have full faith in us to help them improve their business. Contact us for more information.