Lean Manufacturing

What is lean manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing and a lean enterprise or business mean that the Company is focused on supplying exactly;

The objective of lean manufacturing is to maximize customer value by identifying waste and eliminating it.

History of Lean Manufacturing

  • Henry Ford in 1913, constructed the first-ever production line for Ford Ts in Highland Park, Michigan
  • In the 1930s after World War II, the Toyota family decided to go into automobile production. Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo Toyota created for the concepts of ‘Just in Time’, ‘waste reduction’, ‘pull system’  which added to other start-flow techniques, created the Toyota Production System (TPS). In 1990, James Womack synthesizes TPS concepts to form Lean Manufacturing.

Application of Lean Manufacturing – Industries

Principles of Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing follows a certain set of principles that are required to be adhered to achieve desire benefits:

  1. Accurately specify the value of the products or services
  2. Identify the value stream for each product or service and remove wasted actions
  3. Make the product or service value flow without interruptions
  4. Let customers pull products or services from the producers
  5. Pursue perfection and continuously improve

What is Value and what’s not?

Value is usually defined by the customer. An activity adds value for the customer only if, the customer recognizes it, it changes the product/service towards something the customer expects, it is done right the first time and the customer is willing to pay for it. Activities that do not add value are considered as waste.


When a customer buys a pizza the following are considered as value and following are not:

Crust and Ingredients in PizzaValue
Ingredients on the floor and wallsNon-Value (Waste)
Packaging and disposable crockeryValue
Energy for idle plantNon-Value (Waste)
An extra employee in the shopNon-Value (Waste)

What are Muda, Mura and Muri? and their interrelationship

Muda – any activity in your process that does not add value. There are two types of Muda 1) non-value-added tasks which seem to be essential. Business conditions need to be changed to eliminate this type of waste, 2) Non-value-added tasks which can be eliminated immediately.

Mura – Any variation in the manufacturing process that leads to unbalanced situations. Mura exists when the workflow is out of balance and workload is inconsistent and not in compliance with the standard.

Muri – Any activity that leads to unreasonable stress or effort from personnel, material or equipment.

Relationship between the 3Ms

Usually, the 3Ms are not seen separately. When a process is not balanced (Mura), this leads to an overburden on equipment, facilities and people (Muri) which will cause all kinds of non-value adding activities thus leads to Muda. To eliminate Mura and Muri larger parts of the system needs to be looked upon, not only a process or process step or operation but at the entire value stream is revisited.

How to eliminate the 3Ms

  • Design the system with sufficient capacity to fulfil customer requirements without overburdening people, equipment or methods (Muri)
  • Strive to reduce variation/fluctuation to a bare minimum (Mura)
  • Strive to eliminate sources of waste (Muda) but not at the cost of the quality.

The above text has been derived from learning material of Dr. Muhammad Wasif. You can learn more about Dr. Muhammad Wasif on http://www.drmwasif.com/home.

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