Lean manufacturing has become a common methodology implemented by countless manufacturing companies, both in the United States and abroad. It refers to the use of a manufacturing system that minimizes waste and maximizes efficiency. The concept of lean manufacturing was originally pioneered by automaker Toyota as part of its Toyota Production System (TPS). Since then, however, it’s been adopted by countless other manufacturing companies. So, what are the benefits of lean manufacturing?
One of the most common reasons for embracing lean manufacturing is to reduce waste. All manufacturing companies produce some waste — and that’s okay. From leftover scraps of steel to assorted fasteners, packaging material and more, waste is often a byproduct of manufacturing goods. Using lean manufacturing, however, manufacturing companies can reduce the amount of waste they create, thereby promoting a cleaner environment.
Lean manufacturing also offers streamlined processes. The fundamental goal of lean manufacturing is to create an efficient system that yields a high level of productivity. Once accomplished, manufacturing companies will notice fewer problems in their workflow. There are fewer breakdowns, mechanical failures and other system inefficiencies, all of which promotes a more streamlined manufacturing process.
Lower Cost of Production
Manufacturing companies that embrace a lean system will benefit from a lower cost of production than their counterparts. Like any business, manufacturing companies must earn more money through sales than the cost of production. With lean manufacturing, companies can increase their profits by lowering the cost of production. Again, this is due to the fact that lean manufacturing minimizes waste. A manufacturing company that uses a lean system, for example, will purchase only the specific type and amount of materials needed to make a product.
Improved Customer and Worker Satisfaction
A benefit of lean manufacturing that’s often overlooked by companies is improved customer and worker satisfaction. Statistics show that just half of all U.S. workers are satisfied with their job. Although there are different ways to promote worker satisfaction in the workplace, a lean system can help companies achieve this goal. Workers prefer the streamlined, efficient environment of a lean workplace, and this system also resonates positively with customers.
Another way that a lean system can save manufacturing companies money involves overhead. Think about it: If a manufacturing company uses fewer materials, as well as a streamlined process, it doesn’t need as much space to manufacturing products. Considering that overhead is one of the biggest expenses for manufacturing companies, this alone is reason enough to consider lean manufacturing.