what it is and how to benefit from the lean production model – WAU

Lean manufacturing gained popularity and became the model for managing small and medium-sized entrepreneurs’ dreams. Is this methodology still in fashion? Why is she so successful? How to implement it in my company? What results can it bring? Check out the answers to these and other questions below!

Lean manufacturing has become popular in recent years, being a reference especially for startups and startups.

Lean management proposes to increase productivity by solving common errors in business processes and reducing waste in the most diverse sectors.

Older than most people think, the proposal arose in Japan after the Second World War. At that time, do as much as possible with the minimum available it was practically a question of survival.

Currently, the teachings and concepts of this management methodology – which, for many, is also considered a philosophy – can be interesting in creating processes and workflows for companies of different sizes.

She also promises bring advantages even to the organizational culture of the company, by creating the mindset of continuous improvement. All of this helps to add value to the final product, in addition to bringing more competitiveness to the business.

Want to know more about the topic? So you are in the right place! Continue with us, answer your main questions about lean manufacturing and see how to apply it in your company.

What is lean manufacturing?

Translated as a lean company, lean manufacturing is a management methodology (or philosophy). It came up with Toyota during the 1950s in Japan, originally known as the Toyota Production System.

In the post-war context, it was essential to optimize processes and reduce waste.

So the lean manufacturing preaches smart and effective productivity, in order to increase the added value of products without increasing production costs.

Recently, the term and the methodology came back to the fore, especially because of the book “The Lean Startup ”, by Eric Ries, published in 2011. In the work, he reinforces how the Toyota idea can be applied to different companies, especially startups.

For this type of organization, having a high productivity and the least possible waste is essential, as is the case in the current context of economic uncertainty in London and in the world. Thus, management must be focused on agility, focus on the customer and lower production costs.

What does the methodology propose to solve?

You may have already realized that one of the main goals of lean methodology is to increase productivity by reducing errors and reducing waste. Traditionally, 7 main factors were addressed.

The most recent researches have updated this number and started to identify 8 sources of waste that can be solved with the adoption of the lean mindset. Get to know each one of them below.

1. Transport

This item considers everything that must and needs to be transported in an organization: people, information, raw materials, etc.

Generally, this movement does not add value to the final product, although it is often necessary.

Tips for reducing this waste include strategic transportation planning, as well as creation of a discipline in relation to the established processes.

In this way, it is possible to avoid unscheduled expenses and reduce unforeseen events.

2. Movement

This item talks more specifically about the movement of people. In the context of a factory, it is easy to imagine the need to move around the company – and how much it would hinder the process in a disorganized factory.

Bringing it to the current reality, we can understand this waste as that traditional meeting that could have been an email.

Removing different employees from their desks, breaking the reasoning of an activity that has already started and coinciding with schedules are examples of possible losses from this situation.

3. Inventory or stock

In companies from different sectors, the purchasing sector is one of the main bottlenecks when it comes to waste. How to guarantee a purchase that does not generate excess raw materials or stock overcrowding?

On-demand production is one of the main solutions, as is the adoption of the Kanban methodology. You will learn more about them throughout this text.

4. Wait

Stopped machinery is waste! This was the lean manufacturing mindset at its origin. Currently, we can understand waiting as a problem also for idle employees and raw materials.

Thus, for management to be considered lean, it is necessary to have a very well-defined workflow, so that composition of the staff is strategic to the business.

5. Excessive production

Reducing this waste is a way of value quality and not quantity. Excessive production can generate finished products that are out of stock – which, as we have seen, also causes other waste.

These items can become obsolete and, in addition, large-scale production can bring greater defects to what was produced. Then the snowball begins: this can increase user complaints, decrease brand credibility and so on.

6. Defects

We then arrived at the waste caused by defective products.

Rework is a reality that affects everything from factory production to marketing and advertising agencies. It is necessary to consider that, in all these cases, we are not talking only about the waste of raw materials.

Think about the amount of energy, time and man-hour that could be saved or better used? Again, knowing flows and valuing quality over quantity can be ways to reduce this problem.

7. Excessive processing

In this item, we consider all the production stages that do not add value to the final product. It is necessary to do this from the customer’s point of view, standardizing processes and quality criteria.

What does your team do that does not affect the final delivery to the customer? Unnecessary meetings can also be brought here, as well as deliveries that go beyond what is requested and, of course, you can think of other examples.

8. Knowledge

This item concerns the employees of your company. Are you making the most of your intellectual skills and abilities, or is there any waste there too?

Rework and refractions can also be embedded here, as can idleness, for example. Work on employee motivation and create a culture of innovation it is essential to reduce this waste.

What are the advantages of adopting lean management?

Different stages of a production process can benefit from lean management. Continue with us and learn about the main advantages of this methodology.

Correction of errors in the source

One of the main concerns of lean methodology is to reduce waste. This concerns the entire production process: raw material, time, money, etc.

As a consequence, it is possible to identify the main bottlenecks of business and act for your optimization.

Better customer service

As lean production values ​​the quality of the product or service offered, one of its advantages is that this is reflected in customer service.

The organization of flows and the mapping of processes ensures that the employees involved in this task have all the necessary information for the success of the contact.

Improvement in product quality

As you have seen, the lean premise prioritizes quality over quantity.

Defect-free products, services or deliveries generate fewer refractions, more satisfied customers and – what every entrepreneur really wants – higher profits.

Higher profits

In addition to enabling greater sales volume due to improved product quality, adopting a lean strategy can bring higher profit margins to your business.

After all, not only do you produce better, you also reduce unnecessary expenses, Automates processes and optimizes the performance of its employees.

Changing the mindset of employees

The main differential of lean manufacturing, in relation to other management models, is that it is not a closed structure.

This avoids obsolescence over time and encourages a change in organizational culture, really focused on continuous process improvement.

Flexible production

As it is not a closed model under 7 keys, lean production also brings room for flexible flows and processes.

Indeed, what makes sense to your business today may not do tomorrow. Businesses that face great seasonality have a lot to gain from this benefit, since they can reorganize efforts according to the timing of sales.

How to implement lean manufacturing in a company?

We know that lean manufacturing is not going to be adopted overnight. But then, how do I adopt it in my company? Two tools, also created during Toyotism, can be of great help. Meet them below!


Kanban is one of the tools that emerged together with Toyotism and that facilitate the application of lean production.

It is a visualization system, which can be created in different ways: on a wall, through post-its, in notes in a notebook or even in spreadsheets or specific software.

The methodology usually divides the production flow into 3: tasks to be done, being done and completed. The term “kanban” means board, in Japanese.

Like this, a part can only be moved to the next column when available. In addition to cash management, the flowchart also usually improves communication between employees.

Just in Time

As the name suggests, Just in Time, is an administration system that argues that purchasing, transportation and production processes must take place at the exact time that demand arises. The main consequence of this is, precisely, the reduction of waste.

Idle labor, equipment and raw materials are reduced, and demand determines production. This practice is usually applied, including, through Kanban, since one step “authorizes” the release of the next.

Putting lean methodology into practice may not be an easy task. It is not by chance that it is necessary to have an overview of your business and a thorough knowledge of all stages of production, including its main bottlenecks.

THE transparency with employees it can make all the difference, especially, to facilitate acceptance with regard to changing processes. You can start with specific projects or areas.

As the changes bring results, it will certainly be easier to bring lean manufacturing to your entire business.

Did you like our text? We hope so! If you made it this far, stay with us and also see how to increase the productivity of a marketing team.