Lean Manufacturing


Lean manufacturing is process that is used to reduce the non-value-added processes and activities and improve the value added processes to minimize waste and increase productivity.

The lean manufacturing principles & techniques are used by organizations to increase productivity, improve product quality and manufacturing cycle time, reduce inventory, reduce lead time and eliminate manufacturing waste.

There are almost 25 Lean Manufacturing tools that can be used in any industry to optimize processes and productivity.

The history of lean manufacturing reveals that the concept of lean manufacturing was first adopted by Toyota Company in 1950s. 

Following are the some of the important lean manufacturing tools that most organizations apply in order to reduce waste and increase productivity.

Lean Manufacturing Tools & Techniques


5 S


A most important tool of lean manufacturing is 5S that is related to workplace standardization.

5S stands for

  • Sort (eliminate that which is not needed)
  • Set In Order (organize remaining items)
  • Shine (clean and inspect work area)
  • Standardize (write standards for above)
  • Sustain (regularly apply the standards)

5S was developed by Japanese who followed housekeeping for certain advantages such as neat & clean, efficient workplace and minimize waste.

5 S stands for Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. In sorting, separate necessary and unnecessary things. In 2nd S, arranged necessary things in an order. 3 S tells us about the cleaning of the workplace. 4 S and 5 S give standard and sustainability to check the above 3 S respectively.



Kai Japanese word stands for “take part” and zen means “make good”. It is a continuous improvement.

Kaizen is the quality strategy and used for the purpose of eliminating waste by eliminating non-added activities.

Value Stream Mapping


Value stream mapping (VSM) is the main tool for the identification of different kinds of wastes. In VSM mapped existing data from start to end and analyzed the existing state.

Value added activities and non-added activities determined and mapped the future state to improve productivity, lead time reduced & reduce set up time. It highlights the opportunities for improvement.



Poka yoke means mistake proofing system which was established by Shingo in 1961. It is a device that is used to detect or prevent defects before happening. In this technique mistakes improve / detect before making any defect.

So, basic functions of poka-yoke are control mistakes and warning about it. It is also known as mistake proofing & goof proofing because of avoiding human error. The design of poka-yoke device was based on Shingo’s zero quality control concepts.

Just in Time (JIT)


JIT is a modest idea and essential in modern supply chain management. This is based on pull system instead of push system.

When customer gives an order then production process will start. The results from just in time tool are reduce space requirements, reduce inventory level & improve cash flow.

Cellular Manufacturing


Cellular manufacturing system is based on group technology in which parts are grouped into group families and machines are assigned in such a way that similarities among parts occur in manufacturing system.

This is an important tool of lean manufacturing system. As a result, setup time, work-in-process inventory, throughput time & material handling costs will reduce. Product quality will also improve and scheduling will simplify.



It is an inventory control method that applied when item is needed by using signal card. It controls the flow of goods in an organization and out of organization.

It is based on pull system and controlled over-processing.

Single minute exchange of Die (SMED)


Single minute exchange of die (SMED) was embellished by Shingo in the 1960s in the Toyota Company.

It helps a company in reduction of the set-up time when production process stopped and new article is going to start, die change at that time.

It is an effective lean tool for reducing set-up time and increase productivity.