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The Lean Benchmark Report

Executive Summary

Lean manufacturing processes have revolutionized the way that many leading enterprises deliver products to their customers and manage their supplier relationships. Over the past few years, the use of Lean techniques has expanded well beyond the automotive industry to delivering dramatic results into other sectors including aerospace, consumer goods, and industrial equipment among others. Although C-level executives are enthusiastic about the benefits that can be derived by “Leaning out’” operations, this study uncovered a large performance gap between those companies that are simply using Lean techniques on the shop floor versus those that have built a culture based on Lean thinking.

Key Business Value Findings

Of the close to 300 manufacturers that participated in this study, 90% reported that they are committed to Lean. However, further analysis found that less than 20% of these com- panies can be considered best-in-class. Companies that have achieved operational excel- lence through the deployment of a Lean strategy share three key characteristics:

  • Dedication to basics such as streamlining processes, creating a well ordered work environment, and ongoing continuous improvement programs (Kaizen).

  • Lean processes have been rationalized and streamlined; Lean techniques have been memorialized and a ‘single version of the truth’ is ubiquitous via a technol- ogy infrastructure that supports manufacturing, the enterprise, and the supplier base.

  • Lean principles are reflected in the corporate strategy, on the senior leadership

team, as well as throughout manufacturing and the company.

Implications & Analysis

For those companies willing to make the commitment, Lean pays dividends in both the short and long term. It has exceeded the expectations of 25% of best-in-class companies in areas such as customer service and flexibility. Industry sectors benefiting the most in- clude automotive, industrial equipment, and metals. In addition, technology solutions are playing an increasingly important role in Lean. The ability to monitor and measure key control points and processes in real-time is enabling best-in-class companies to meet and exceed performance goals. Also, ERP, Lean Specialty/MES, and homegrown solutions provide the foundation from which companies can institutionalize processes, improve productivity, prepare for new product launches, and drive culture change throughout the company and supplier base.

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