Study of How Effective Lean Manufacturing Is in Industry Multiple Chapters

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¶ … Lean Manufacturing

Critique of existing work

Motivation for this research

In this dissertation, we present an analysis of the Lean Manufacturing processes, tool and applications in the context of engineering practice. The aim of this paper is to determine the efficiency of lean manufacturing to the companies that have adopted the technique. This is carried out via a rigorous analysis of the existing literature on lean manufacturing efficiency. The paper concludes that there is a need to develop a metric for measuring the efficiency of lean manufacturing but which takes into account the metrics of environment and sustainability

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The concept of lean manufacturing is noted by Abdulmalek and Rajgopal (2006,p.223) as one of the initiatives that has been adopted by several businesses in the U.S. In their quest to gain a competitive advantage in the competitive global marketplace. The focus of the concept of lean manufacturing is cost reduction through the elimination of the activities that are considered to be non-value adding. The concept of lean manufacturing originated from the production system used by Toyota and incorporates the use of several tools as well as techniques of the processes of lean manufacturing. The techniques used include just-in-time (JIT), production smoothing, total productive maintenance as well as cellular manufacturing among others. The application of lean manufacturing has spanned several sectors that include electronics, automotive as well as the manufacturing of consumer products. Abdullah and Rajgopal (2003) noted that the applications of the various lean manufacturing techniques in the continuous process sector are relatively fewer. In this dissertation, we aim at determining the efficiency of lean manufacturing to the companies that have adopted the technique.


The aim of this paper is to determine the efficiency of lean manufacturing to the companies that have adopted the technique.


The objectives of this paper are;

Multiple Chapters on Study of How Effective Lean Manufacturing Is in Industry Assignment

To identify the industries and other sectors that employ lean manufacturing gin streamlining their operations

To present a description of the advantages of employing lean manufacturing techniques in engineering

To present the efficiencies of lean manufacturing in the context of engineering activities/manufacturing

The objective is critique the existing work in lean manufacturing in order to identify the gaps in implementation of lean manufacturing

To come up with a proposition of a better lean manufacturing framework to be used in the preproduction of goods and services by Engineering firms

An over view of lean manufacturing

The work of Womack et al. (1990) indicated that the lean manufacturing technique was pioneered immediately after Second World War when Japanese manufactures were facing a serious shortage of materials, human resources and finances. These unfavorable conditions are what resulted in the inception of the concept of lean manufacturing. Kiichiro Toyoda, who was the then the president of Toyota Motor Company realized that American Automakers were quickly out-producing the Japanese manufactures by a large factor of 10 (Abdullah and Rajgopal,2003).Several Japanese Industrialists then responded by carefully devising a set of new and yet disciplined systems that were process-oriente.The system is currently called "Lean Manufacturing," or the Toyota Production System,." This system was developed in order to pinpoint the main sources of waste and then decisively employing tools such as JIT, setup reduction, production smoothing among others in the elimination of the identified waste. Feld (2000) and Nahmias (2001) presented a description of some of the lean manufacturing tools.

Literature review

Manufactures have been indicated to be rapidly transforming their systems for manufacturing from the traditional mass production to the more efficient, effective and flexible lean manufacturing systems. In 1994, a research by Osterman revealed a significant adoption rate of the lean manufacturing system in several American business enterprises. Another study by the EPA (2003) indicated that there is a 50% rate of adoption of lean manufacturing practices by the U.S. manufacturers. The flexibility as well as the precision that is associated with the lean manufacturing systems has been noted to lean to the efficient and reliable production of products in small quantities at the highest levels of product quality. Lean production has therefore proven to be essential in the contemporary society where the concept of product personalization is a huge requirement. The traditional manufactures are indicated to have believed on the existence of a trade-off between quality, cost as well as lot size. Therefore, it became clear that the process of manufacturing a large quantity of a given product quickly and without due regard to the level of product quality was the basis of the traditional concept of 'mass production'. These assumptions were however challenged by Toyota, the pioneer of the Lean manufacturing .The company saw that the defects can be associated with waste. They therefore came up with several methods aimed at the prevention of the defects as opposed to the concentration of the inspection techniques aimed at arresting the defects at the end of the whole manufacturing process. Toyota also regarded over-production as a very wasteful process.They therefore focused on the reduction of the total set-up time while allowing themselves the ability to produce items in smaller quantities in an economic manner.The production was also to be carried out efficiency in order to match it with the level of consumer demand as noted by Hayes et al. (1984).

The level of success of the lean manufacturing by the Japanese companies lead several scholars to embark on a research on the lean manufacturing methods in the early 1980's and even the 1990s as noted by the works of Schronberger (1982), Juran et al., (1988) as well as Monden (1983).The same period also saw a considerable level of academic inquiry into the managerial philosophies that are related to the concept of lean manufacturing (Neely, 1993;Chase,1987; Filippini, 1997).

Critique of existing work

Extant literature has been dedicated to the study lean manufacturing efficiency in the context of engineering practices. According to Baines et al. (2006), despite the clear documentation of the beneficial effects of applying lean principles in most manufacturing environments, the application of the lean technique to development of products is still controversial. In addition to this some authors like Papadopolou and Ozbayrak (2005) as well as Shah and Ward (2007), still argue that the process of lean manufacturing in itself has not been defined conclusively. Martinez and Farris (2007), posits that the exact difference in the definition of Lean Product Development and the traditional Product Development is vague. If there exist any consensus in the definition of Lean Product Development, then it arises from the fact that it uses a system of engineering and organizational work principles and techniques that were used by the Toyota Company to help it achieve production time, reduced costing and better quality compared to the traditional Product Development. In spite of all these efforts to get a consensus in the definition of Lean Product Development, the precise set of principles and techniques including the extent to which customization of the approach by the industry and type of project, none has been achieved in any existing literature. A case in point is when Womack, Roos and Jones (1990), defines Lean Product Development without the use of concepts instead they describe simply it as a method used by Japanese automotive manufacturers including Toyota to achieve a drastic decline in the cost of manufacturing as well as the lead time for manufacturing the automobiles in comparison to their western counterparts. Moreover, Womack et al. (1990) identifies what they believe are the set of core Lean Product Developmenttechniques. These according to them include project managers who are overweight, cross functional teams that are dedicated to the vision and mission of theirs companies, decision making processes that is all involving i.e all team members are consulted before any decision affecting the operations of the company are made and engineering that is concurrent.

Other authors like Karsson and Alhstron (1996) have described Lean Product Development as comprising of slightly different techniques compared to the techniques used in the traditional Product Development. Better still some authors have approached this definition ofLean Product Development from a broad perspective stating that it being a philosophy of Product Development, that mainly focuses on the elimination of waste or value maximization in development activities while putting a lot of emphasis on waste elimination in relation to creation of value that varies from author to author (Bianes et al. 2006). Moreover little attempts have been made to have an integration of the finding of the different studies that focused on the different levels that exist in an organization including the tools. Many theorists that have multi-paradigms have continued to stress on the importance of bringing the multiple perspectives together to enhance the development of new insights ( Edwards, 2005).

According to Van de Ven and Poole (2005) one of the most important aspects here it the relationship that exists between the different approaches as well as the new theories that have been integrated to accommodate the divergent views which are strong and have a broad explanation power than the initial perspectives. Furthermore, House et al. ( 1995) argue… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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