The Lean Benchmark Report
However, many think of Lean as supporting only key manufacturing functions, not broader, related functions. The Toyota Production System is more than simply a plant floor strategy.
While the majority of the 292 survey respondents proclaim to be Lean, further analysis determined that only about one fifth were actually succeeding with this strategy. It is in- teresting to note that 18% of respondents representing the discrete industries (based on a survey pool of 292) reported themselves Lean five years ago versus only 4% of those representing the process sectors (Figure 1). Since then, both sectors have aggressively adopted Lean, with automotive leading in the discrete industries and food and beverage across the process industries. Today, close to 90% of both the discrete and process seg- ments consider that they are already Lean or will be within the next year. A closer look at the data shows that there is a wide gap between those companies that deploy some Lean techniques and those that fully embrace the Lean culture.
Lean Maturity: Operational Factors
Manufacturers generally begin by using basic techniques such as 5S (sort, set in order, shine, standardize, sustain), workcell production, and Kanban cards. However Lean pro- duction principles (adapted from Lean Thinking by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones) are built on the following:
Specifying value from the customer’s perspective as expressed in terms of a specific product or solution that meets the customer’s needs at a specific price at a specific time.
Identifying the value stream or set of actions required to bring product or solution to the customer; from concept to product launch, from order-to- delivery, and from raw materials to finished product.
Making it flow by converting from departments and batches to product teams that redefine the work of departments, so each employee can make a positive contribution to the value stream (concept to launch, sale to de- livery, raw material to customer).
“Pulling” from the customer back by making exactly what the customer wants just when the customer wants it; let the customer “pull” the prod- uct as needed rather than pushing product, often unwanted, into inven- tory.
Striving toward perfection is an ongoing process of reducing effort, time, space, cost, and mistakes while offering a product which is in every way, exactly what the customer actually wants.
To determine the relative operational Lean maturity of the survey respondents, we asked about their organization’s status relative to structure, process standardization, data and knowledge management, and process automation as shown in Table 1.
From an organizational perspective, only 31% of discrete and 18% of process companies have implemented Lean either corporate or division-wide. The remaining 70% to 80% are still in the early stages of Lean (5S’s and no champion) or have implemented some operational improvements in production using Lean techniques. Process standardization
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