What Are Lean Manufacturing Principles?


Quick Answer

The five principles of lean manufacturing are to identify value, map the value stream, create flow, establish pull and seek perfection. In practice, this means working out which activities are worth doing, creating systems that facilitate doing those activities and improving the ways those activities are done.

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Full Answer

Continuous improvement is one of the core principles of lean manufacturing, and it is important that businesses implementing a lean system realise that all activities must be subject to improvement. In identifying value, it is important for businesses to focus on the pulls of customer needs and demands, rather than choosing what to create and then sell to customers. This facilitates a smooth flow from customer need to fulfilment of that need, allowing businesses to channel resources where they are most needed.

Therefore, each part of the five principles flows smoothly into the others, and no part of the system can be fully implemented without the others being realised at least to some extent. Value is specified, value streams are identified, wasted steps are removed, and flow and pull are introduced. Then, businesses must begin the process again from a new starting point, seeking a state of perfection where there is little to no waste.

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