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Lean Manufacturing Concepts

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Standard Work

A precise description of each work activity specifying Cycle Time, also known as Takt Time, the work sequence of specific tasks, and the minimum inventory of parts on hand needed to conduct the activity.

Seven Wastes

Taiichi Ohno's original enumeration of the wastes commonly found in physical production. These are overproduction ahead of demand, waiting for the next processing stop, unnecessary transport of materials (for example, between functional areas of facilities), overprocessing of parts due to poor tool and product design, inventories more than the absolute minimum, unnecessary movement by employees during the course of their work (looking for parts, tools, prints, help, etceteras), and production of defective parts.

Five S Technique

A technique used to remove waste associated with disorganization. Five Ss - Five terms beginning with S utilized to create a workplace suited for visual control and lean production. Sort means to separate needed tools, parts, and instructions from unneeded materials and to remove the latter. Simplify means to neatly arrange and identify parts and tools for ease of use. Sweep means to conduct a cleanup campaign. Standardize means to conduct Sort, Simplify, and Sweep at frequent, indeed daily, intervals to maintain a workplace in perfect condition. Sustain means to form the habit of always following the first four Ss. Some consultants include Safety as the 6th S.

Just-In-Time (JIT) /Kanban

A process used to eliminate inventory by using a "pull" system versus a typical "push" system. Just-In-Time - A system for producing and delivering the right items at the right time in the right amounts. Just-In-Time approaches Just-On-Time when upstream activities occur minutes or seconds before down-stream activities, so single-piece flow is possible. The key elements of Just-in-Time are Flow, Pull, Standard Work (with standard in-process inventories), and Takt Time.


A Continuous, incremental improvement of an activity to create more Value with less Waste. Also known as Point Kaizen, and Process Kaizen.


Set-up Time Reduction

This is the minimization of set-up time for equipment or administrative processes.

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

This process is comprised of a series of methods to ensure that every machine in a production process is always able to perform its required tasks so that production is never interrupted.

Value Stream Mapping

VSM is a process-flow charting to identify critical path of the value-added processes in the manufacturing of product.

Visual Control

A concept dealing with the placement in plain view of all tools, parts, production activities, and indicators of production system performance, so everyone involved can understand the status of the system at a glance. Used synonymously with Transparency.

Single Piece Flow

The processing of the product by one operator in a cell environment to minimize production time and man-to-machine ratio is known as Single Piece Flow.

Supply Chain Management

By managing suppliers and outsourcing much of the supply process a company can reduce inventory and delivery time.


A Cell is the layout of machines of different types performing different operations in a tight sequence, typically in a U-shaped, to permit single-piece flow and flexible deployment of human effort by means of Multi-Machine Working. Contrast with Functional Layout.

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