Saturday, January 25, 2014

What is Lean Thinking?

Lean Thinking is just like it sounds: managing operations without expending excess resources. Like a lean piece of meat, lean operations are trimmed. Lean Thinking also includes adding value.

Shigeo Shingo, a Japanese author and engineer, identified 7 wastes. Recognizing and eliminating them creates a lean work environment.They are:

1.     Overproduction
2.     Waste of waiting
3.     Waste of transportation
4.     Waste of inventory
5.     Waste of processing
6.     Waste from product defects
7.     Waste of motion

To add value, examine the following:

  •      How does your customer see your company?
  •      What problems need to be exposed?
  •      What can be simplified?
  •       Be flexible when considering new ideas or changes. 

     Kaisen and 5S are Lean Thinking terms. Kaisen adds value with continuous improvement. 5S is the reorganization of work areas to improve efficiency and reduce waste. The 5 “S’s” are:
Sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain or systemize.

I think this brief explanation of Lean Thinking illustrates its advantage to any activity. From offices to factories to households, cutting waste and adding value can yield benefits.

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