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By Craig A. Stevens, PMP, CC and his students


Lean and Change


By Laurenda Whisenhunt (TNU 2008)





Lean is a systematic approach to improving the organization and management of product development, operations, and customer development. The lean management approach is an attempt to identify and eliminate waste through improved techniques to produce a higher quality of goods and services while attempting to create increased value for the customer.


The concept of lean cannot be limited to one department or one segment of a company corporation. The principles of Lean are intended to benefit the entire system of mass production. The components and building blocks of lean can be used together or applied cross functionally in the system or process.


Eight Major Wastes in the Lean Process


  1. Overproduction- Overproduction occurs when companies produce more than the             market demands.

  2. Waiting- The time spent waiting for supplies, resources, equipment, personnel, etc.

    • The items needed for production must be delivered just in time.

  3. Transportation- Lean requires materials be shipped to the direct point of issue.

  4. Non-Value-Added-Processing- Make sure the service and products have been done             correctly the first time. Make sure inspections are done effectively and efficiently.

  5. Excessive Inventory- Reduce overproduction.

  6. Defects-Resources are wasted because of production errors and defects.

  7. Excessive Motion- Reduce Unnecessary activity.

  8. Underutilized People- Use staffing resources wisely. Implement the mental,    creative, and physical skills and abilities of employees.


Rewards of Applying Lean Principles


Operational, administrative, and strategic improvements will result from applying the lean principles to a management system.


Operational improvements:

            1) An average of 75% more space

            2) Quality Improvements by 80%

            3) Work in Process reduced by 80%

            4) 50% Increase in Productivity

            5) 90% Reduction in Lead Time


Administrative Improvement

  1. Less paperwork

  2. Less processing mistakes

  3. Work functions are streamlined to improved customer service skills

  4. Greater distribution of employee responsibilities

  5. Reduction in unnecessary company functions.

  6. Increase ability to match employees with skill appropriate positions.


Strategic Improvements

            1) Ability to market benefits to ensure return of profits

            2) Sales volume increases.

            3) Decrease labor costs.

            4) Reduce overhead feeds.


               Jerry Kilpatrick, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, 2003 Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership 9 Sept. 2008


History of Lean                


The lineage of lean manufacturing can be traced back to the cotton gin in the late 1700ís. Eli Whitney, one of them famous inventors to ever live made a huge accomplishment in manufacturing when he developed the concept of interchangeable machinery parts. For more than 100 years following his invention, manufacturers have endlessly sought ways to continually improve the manufacturing process.


During the beginning of the 1900ís, Henry Ford and one of his associates took a deep look into the system of processing and developed their concepts. Henry Ford is considered in the manufacturing world as the most famous manufacturing guru using the lean principles and concepts.


In the 1930ís another manufacturer surfaced at General Motors, Alfred P. Sloan, took a different approach at manufacturing the automobile. Where Ford was extremely conservative, Sloan wanted to offer the consumer more variety while still producing a strong product for the market. By the end of the 1930ís, General Motors more pragmatic approach to manufacturing surpassed the work of Henry Ford.


When the 1980ís approached, more and more manufacturers were achieving great success using the lean principles. The knowledge of lean and all the benefits of applying its principles have led to the success of many companies.


Lean Manufacturing History, 9 Sept, 2008


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George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796