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Lean Thinking

Lean Thinking: Create Value and Banish Waste

Lean Thinking: it means creating value by avoiding waste. This may sound like a snappy slogan without any real meaning, but on the other hand it represents a new way of thinking any organization, a complete rethinking of the entire value-creation stream, from initial product design to orders management in order to increase flexibility.

Lean Thinking is the result of several academic researches in reorganization processes of a large number of American, European and Japanese corporations. It consists of a gradual process aiming at eliminating any waste coming out from the traditional production processes.

The basic principles behind the Lean Thinking concept are not entirely new, the core concept can be considered as a development and improvement of earlier organizational models (i.e. Total Quality, Process re-engineering, etc.) in terms of systematic and integrated approach.
In particular, the term “lean” stresses the idea of reducing the usage of any company resource, not only raw material, as in all traditional Japanese production methods, but also human labour thanks to a re-design of the whole organization.

Through the application of the 5 Lean Principles manufacturing with less resources usage and the elimination of any waste is an on-going search changing organizations into lean organizations.

The Challenge: Aiming at Perfection
The quest for perfection is the ultimate challenge for lean businesses. When lean techniques begin to be implemented all along the value chain, it becomes clear that the process designed to reduce effort, time, space, costs and errors is an endless one.
Perfection should be thought of as a Holy Grail which, though unachievable, must be the ultimate target, in order to challenge a constant process of improvement.
Rethinking the entire company processes after the “lean way” allows to achieve astonishing results:

  • Time-to-market in the product development process can be reduced by as much as 60%, keeping the same planning/engineering team.
  • Stock reduction: it is possible to reduce stocks by up to 50%
  • Lead-time reduction: it is possible to cut down lead-time (from customer order to “ready for despatch”) by as much as 70-80%.
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