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Lean Manufacturing Concepts

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Key Concepts for Winning Strategies


Management Support / Methods

  • Recognizing that without management's support, the process will fail
  • Understanding that this is not just "another program", but a permanent change from business as usual
  • Identifying key results / goals
  • Focusing on data and performance issues rather than personalities
  • Communicating openly and honestly
  • Delegating to subordinates
  • Communicating expectations and following up on performance to those expectations

Front Line Leadership

  • Implementing basic principles to build an empowered work force
  • Gathering good information to make good decisions
  • Using positive recognition to support organizational goals and values
  • Recognizing that goal is a part of the win / win agreement

Performance Management

  • Defining what employees should do - job description
  • Defining and communicating expectations of performance for each key responsibility in the job description
  • Providing frequent feedback on performance results compared to expectations

Quality Improvement System Measures

  • Identify Critical Success Factors (CSF) at the top company level and relate them to Key Performance Indicators (KPI) at all levels of the organization. This should be linked to Process Performance Management with tools such as control-ES Software.
  • Assign responsibility for processes and KPI’s
  • Picking problem areas and begin measuring trends
  • Establishing goal and trend chart based on key measurable
  • Making sure progress will be measured and charted
  • Using the "Dash Board" approach to measurements

Employee Involvement / Problem Solving

  • Providing training as required
  • Understanding the available quality tools used for measurement
  • Attacking the problem, not the person
  • Identifying the problem and team to solve that problem
  • Using a team approach


  • Rewarding Problem Solving teams as they achieve their goals
  • Basing the type of reward on suggestions from the team


  • Glass wall management
    (Open communication throughout the entire organization; pertinent information shared with everyone, therefore all people in the company can participate
  • Opening communications up and down the line
  • Internal and external dissemination of "Best Practices"

Planning Room

  • A physical place to show ongoing company performance
  • A designated place for planning and improvement activities

Visual Management

  • Shows real-time performance indicators
  • Shows real-time reduction of waste
  • Shows scheduling of manufacturing and resources
  • Shows trend charts with goals
  • Shows recent corrective actions
  • Shows meeting minutes / notes
  • Shows employee picture board, by classification
  • Shows training matrix

Five "S" / Housekeeping

  • Sort (organize workspace)
  • Simplify (easy reach of often used materials & tools)
  • Sweep (clean workspace)
  • Standardize (improve the Sort, Simplify & Sweep process)
  • Sustain (maintain the Sort, Simplify, Sweep and Standardize into daily habit)

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

  • Maintaining and improving equipment reliability - operators and maintenance personnel
  • Maintaining equipment for maximum life utilization
  • Maximizing equipment effectiveness through employee involvement

Production Setup Reduction

  • Essential: Reacting to smaller lot sizes
  • Reacting to customer demand and changing market conditions
  • Reducing changeover time for all production machines

Effective Meetings

  • Starting and ending on time
  • Keeping meetings short
  • Distributing agenda before meeting
  • Prioritizing agenda items
  • Not letting difficult tasks stop meeting progress

Production Planning

  • Understanding your customers' needs and requirements for the near future
  • Seeking best utilization of equipment, materials and personnel
  • Reacting sensibly to those needs to systematically plan labor and materials purchases

Production Reporting

  • Reporting performance daily to the production, inventory, and sales plans
  • Timely reporting enables sensible, timely responses to changing market conditions

Time Management

  • Controlling procrastination
  • Controlling events and taking action - and feeling good about it
  • Effective planning to achieve goals on time, every time

Project Management

  • Understanding how to set realistic goals and priorities
  • Understanding how to separate value-added and non-value-added tasks and acting only on the value-added tasks
  • Organizing work for team building
  • Designing work breakdown structures
  • Tying to key measurable results they are improving


  • Effectively communicating results to others
  • Researching audience needs & perspectives
  • Selecting, developing, and using the right visual aids
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