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Lean Manufacturing

Understanding Lean

"Lean is the never-ending process of eliminating waste; finding every activity that does not create value for the customer and eliminating it."

The Five Principles of Lean

  1. Specify the value: Define value from a customer’s perspective and express it in terms of a specific product
  2. Map the value stream: Map all the steps - value added and non-value added - that bring a product or service to the customer
  3. Establish the flow: The continuous movement of products, services, and information throughout the manufacturing process
  4. Implement pull: Nothing is done by the upstream process until the downstream customer signals the need
  5. Work to perfection: Complete elimination of waste so that all activities create lean manufacturing value for the customer

Benefits of Lean

  • Lean reduces costs, defects, lead times, inventory, space, and waste
  • Lean improves productivity, customer satisfaction, profit, customer responsiveness, capacity, quality, cash flow, on time delivery

Lean Toolset

  • Value stream mapping - analyzing and streamlining the flow of materials and information
  • Kaizen – a philosophy on continuous improvement
  • Muda - eliminating waste and promoting efficiency
  • Just-in-time - reducing in-process inventory and the associated costs
  • Theory of Constraints - using throughput, operating expense, and inventory as a measure to improve operating efficiency and achieve business objectives
  • Heijunka – a technique to reduce waste by sequencing and production leveling
  • Jidoka - stopping at every abnormality; human intelligence built into machines
  • 5S – workplace organization methodology - especially a shared workplace
  • Kanban - a simple, visual system for signaling customer demand
  • Poka-Yoke - a mechanism in lean manufacturing which helps an operator or system to avoid mistakes through "mistake-proofing"

Lean - The HCL Way

1. Lean Assessment

The first step in the Lean manufacturing journey, this assessment allows the weighting of the nine key areas of manufacturing. We measure the Lean Index and the benchmark processes. The assessment is followed with a report, indicating:

  • The current "leanness" of the organization
  • The elements of strength that the organization can build on
  • A complete action plan to fully integrate Lean principles into the organization

2. Value Stream Mapping (VSM)

VSM is a method of visually mapping the flow of materials and information as a product makes its way through the value stream. The basic idea is to first map your processes and then map the information flow that enables the processes to occur. VSMs are the blueprints for lean transformation and serve as a starting point to help in recognizing waste and identifying its causes.

3. Value Stream Engineering

While most organizations are able to produce "current-state" maps, many struggle with the process of creating "future-state" maps and the corresponding implementation plans. In this phase, we create a future state value stream map that identifies and quantifies the opportunities. This phase not only involves the re-engineering of current processes to improve performance through the deployment of lean manufacturing systems, but also monitoring and stabilizing the processes and transitioning them to process owners.

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