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The following article was published by ReliablePlant and written by Herb Lichtenberg. This is a well written article that provides good information regarding the value of “lean”, “lean thinking”, “lean manufacturing” and “lean enterprise” concepts.  Several themes reverberate throughout: over-production, inventory, transportation, waiting, movement, defects and over-processing. I hope this article proves helpful, and please feel free to share your feedback in the comments section below.

Lean” has assailed our vocabulary the same way that it has attacked waste within a plant or process. From “lean thinking” to “lean enterprise” and “lean manufacturing,” the word has created many catchphrases. But what does it mean to be “lean”? It entails shedding waste in order to reduce costs and increase competitiveness.

The two most popular process improvement methodologies in use today, lean manufacturing and Six Sigma, originated at Toyota and Motorola, respectively. These pioneering companies are discrete manufacturers. Not surprisingly, the subsequent evolution and development of these two methodologies has focused mostly on improvements in discrete manufacturing. Each methodology has a central focus that has been the basis for its structure and tools. For lean, it’s the delivery of value to the customer through the elimination of waste – anything that is non-value added from the customer’s perspective. For Six Sigma, the central focus is the elimination of defects – products or services that do not conform to the customer’s specifications. Read more …

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