Elements of Lean
Lean is a production practice that aims at satisfying customers through immediate delivery, high quality products, and time. Numerous manufacturing companies are turning to lean manufacturing processes for revenue maximization. Lean manufacturing can create strong financial results for an organization. Production System in Toyota was the first system to begin utilizing the concepts of lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is the methodical removal of waste, implementation of uninterrupted flow, and customer pull system (Carreira, 2005, p.45). This paper discuses lean manufacturing in GM (General Motors Corporation) and how it fits in with the company’s vision
The first basic element of lean is to eliminate waste in the organization. Waste refers to anything that uses raw materials and labor in the organization but does no worth to the end consumer. Waste occurs when there is overproduction in the organization and demand of production exceeded. It happens when there is waiting and processing cannot go to the next step. In addition, elimination of wastes seeks to reduce unnecessary movements of raw materials between processes to cut on transportation costs. Eliminating waste involves doing away with over processing because of ineffective tools and product designs. Besides, it involves reducing the amount of unnecessary inventory in the store to avoid waste. To eliminate waste, an organization uses the Just In Time (JIT) processes and Jidoka (Carreira, 2005, p.56). The JIT process works to produce the needed products at the right time when needed. Jidoka is the ability to stop the production process when a problem arises and avoid waste.
Lean manufacturing also involves continuous flow of work. Continuous flow of work enables the organization to cut costs, ensure timely delivery and quality products. The continuous workflow also seeks to reduce the batch size to one piece. The one-piece production leads to flexible production and shorter lead times. Flow ensures that each individual product is always in motion as the workers continuously work on it. To achieve production flow, an organization should have a proper appreciation of the customers’ requirements in order to organize the production process to meet those needs. The production machines should work effectively and correctly maintained to have minimal wastes and reduce interruptions. These procedures ensure a lean environment.
Another element of a lean environment is customer pull. It involves the ability of the organization to meet customer demand as and when needed. A production process should be able to meet customer demand at the rate the customers are demanding a product. Customer pull is possible through the flow production where an organization’s production process works through the law of supply and demand. This works through a stock-keeping unit, which ensures production of the correct items, delivered at the right time and in the required amounts (Carreira, 2005, p.100). This means that the customer pulls the production process rather than the capabilities or limitations of the production pushing the system.
General Motors Vision
The vision of General Motors Corporation is “to be the world leader in transportation products and related services” (General Motors profile). The company will create customer admiration through continuous improvement of its products and services to achieve its vision. In addition, the General Motors personnel will work as a team through innovation and integrity to become the world leader in transportation products. To achieve the world leader position, the company will integrate economic, social, and environmental goals in its daily business procedures. The company will incorporate those objectives in its future activities to become more sustainable. Further, as part of its vision, the company will update its processing machines in line with the new technology to ensure uninterrupted production and reduce waste. Through the new machines, the company aims to be a leader in transportation products.
Supporting of Lean through the company’s Vision
The company’s vision supports a lean environment. The company’s new machinery will aim at minimizing waste and ensuring continuous production, which are elements of lean. Through innovation, the company will utilize its staffs to eliminate those products that do not add any value to the final consumer. The staffs will work as a team in an effort to ensure continuous flow of work at the industry. The continuous flow of work will ensure that customers can get their products on demand. In addition, the new machinery will assist in uninterrupted supply of the products minimizing lead-time. Therefore, it is clear that the vision of General Motors aims at supporting lean through elimination of waste, continuous flow and customer pull.
Carreira, B. (2005). Lean manufacturing that works: powerful tools for dramatically reducing
waste and maximizing profits. New York: AMACOM.
General Motors Corporation.