Definition: Lean management refers to a technique developed with the aim of minimising the process waste and maximising the value of the product or service to the customer, without compromising the quality. It is coined by Toyota Production System, which is a part of lean thinking.
Lean is possible through distinct techniques such as flow charts, just in time, total quality management, workplace redesigning, and total productive maintenance. It focuses on delivering value to customers. A number of tools are deployed by the lean management system to link customer value to the process and people.
Identify value: The value must be ascertained from the point of view of the ultimate customer by product family.
Map the value stream: Ascertain all the steps involved in the value stream for each product family and then eliminating those steps that are not productive.
Create the flow: Ensure that the steps which create value take place in a perfect sequence, so the product reaches the customer smoothly.
Establish Pull: Once the flow is initiated, customers pull value from the next level activity.
Seek Perfection: When the value is specified, value streams are ascertained, non-productive steps are eliminated and flow and pull are instigated. The process is started again and continue, till the perfection state is arrived, in which the perfect value is created with no waste.
Single Piece Flow is an ideal state of operation that replaces the batch sizes and lost production with working on one product at a time. Lean Manufacturing System aims at implementing one piece flow in every operation possible. It can be achieved by eliminating the wastes such as overproduction, space, defects, unnecessary human motion, inventory, labour and so on.