Is Lean the answer for manufacturing? Or is it just the latest flavor of the month peddled by management gurus? We interviewed experts in the field to find out:
Lean manufacturing, which had its origin in the Toyota Production System (TPS), is built around getting rid of waste — defined as any activity that does not add value (whatever a customer will pay for) to the product. Taiichi Ohno, father of TPS, identified the Seven Wastes (muda, in Japanese) — defects, overproduction, motion, transportation, waiting, inventory and processing — that TPS works to eliminate. But there is much more to Lean than that, says Mike Kuta, Managing Partner at Productivity, LLC.