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Principles of Lean Thinking



1. Principles of Lean Thinking

  • Specify Value by product:

    Identify customer needs, specifications and requirements

  • Identify the value stream:

    Identify the process from product design to sales and to satisfying the customer’s needs

  • Make the product flow:

    Identify the bottlenecks within the process

  • Produce at the Pull of customer:

    Make the products to meet customer’s needs and requirements, and make it available when the customer wants it

  • In pursuit of perfection

    (Continuous Improvement)

    (Nigel, 2004)


2. Ten Key elements of the Lean Value Stream

  1. Specify value from customer perspective

  2. Identify all the steps involved within the process so as to capture all the non value added activities

  3. Select actions that create value from customer perspective

  4. Produce only when customer wants it, Just-In-Time (JIT)

  5. Maintain transparency of strategies, costs and information in the value stream

  6. Address competitive advantage at the value stream network level

  7. Use VSM for analyzing, and implementing the change

  8. Focus on the key process

  9. Focus on long term improvement rather than short-term

  10. Strive for perfection with continuous improvements

(Hines, Lamming, Jones, Cousin, & Rich, 2000)

3. Key Lean Concepts

  • Center on People

    Transferring the maximum number of tasks and responsibilities to workers.

  • Postponement ”Pull”

    Delay any efforts until they are absolutely necessary

  • Optimization

    Looking at the value chain as whole - and measuring the contributions of each activity as it relates to the effectiveness of the entire chain, not just the output of one step in the process.

  • Eliminate Waste "adding nothing but value”

    understand what value is, and what activities and resources are absolutely necessary to create that value.

4. The Fifteen Characteristics of Lean

  1. Customer: Understand the true demand (internal/ external)

  2. Simplicity: In operation, Technology & process

  3. Visibility: Operation visibility & transparency

  4. Regularity: No surprise operationstime pacing

  5. Synchronization: Keep it moving Seek flow

  6. Pull: Work at Customer Rate of Demand

  7. Waste: Learn to recognize then reduce

  8. Process: Think horizontal & Map to understand process

  9. Prevention: Shift emphasis form failure to prevention

  10. Time: Simultaneous & parallel operations. Time as a measure.

  11. Improvement: Beyond waste reduction to include innovation

  12. Partnership: Seek to build trust, with supplier and customer

  13. Gemba: Innovation in the workplace not in the office

  14. Variation: Seek to reduce, understand the limits

  15. Participation: Everybody takes responsibility everything shared