The term “lean production” is based on a study by Womack, Jones & Roos of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from the eighties, in which the production at the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota had been investigated and it was found that Toyota produced very efficiently. As a result of these studies, the astonishingly obvious overall goal was derived of avoiding waste at all levels, which could otherwise be termed optimization of all levels – getting leaner everywhere.
- Flat hierarchies, i.e. less need for coordination and fewer executives
- more responsibility and competence at the base, i.e. making decisions as soon as possible and on your own
- Concentration on the essentials, i.e. less work with things that do not belong to the main business and thus reduced waste of working time,
- Improved communication within the company and with customers as well as with suppliers, which means that things do not have to be done multiple times and not readjusted
- Customer orientation of all production processes, i.e. doing things in such a way that customers don’t have to demand anything and like to come back
- Controlling supplies to production sites throughout the country using the “pull principle”, i.e. reducing stock levels everywhere and filling the warehouses with small quantities just in time upon request, so that production is not interrupted
In summary, “lean production” means working systematically to produce as much as possible with as little effort as possible while still supplying all customers on time with the desired products.
Courses on the topic can be found here.