The espoused goals of Lean manufacturing systems differ between various authors. While some maintain an internal focus, e.g. to increase profit for the organization others claim that improvements should be done for the sake of the customer.
Some commonly mentioned goals are:
- Improve quality: To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, a company must understand its customers’ wants and needs and design processes to meet their expectations and requirements.
- Eliminate waste: Waste is any activity that consumes time, resources, or space but does not add any value to the product or service.
- Taking the first letter of each waste, the acronym “TIM WOOD” is formed. This is a common way to remember the wastes. The other alternative name that can used to remember is “DOT WIMP”.
- Reduce time: Reducing the time it takes to finish an activity from start to finish is one of the most effective ways to eliminate waste and lower costs.
- Reduce total costs: To minimize cost, a company must produce only to customer demand. Overproduction increases a company’s inventory costs because of storage needs.
The strategic elements of Lean can be quite complex, and comprise multiple elements. Four different notions of Lean have been identified:
- Lean as a fixed state or goal (Being Lean)
- Lean as a continuous change process (Becoming Lean)
- Lean as a set of tools or methods (Doing Lean/Toolbox Lean)
- Lean as a philosophy (Lean thinking)
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