chapter  Chapter 5
41 Pages

Applying lean thinking to operations

ByDavid Gardiner, Hendrik Reefke

Lean thinking applies lean concepts to all business operations.

The starting perspective describes lean implementation at Chelsea Sugar to highlight how easy it is to overlook obvious improvement opportunities.

This chapter starts with a discussion on the history of lean, the principles of lean, and the Toyota Way, which takes lean to the next level by extending the practice beyond the factory environment to include the entire organisation.

It discusses the seven wastes (overproduction, waiting, transportation, carrying inventory, motion, making defects, and processing steps) and value stream mapping, which provides an integrated description of how a product passes through all stages of production. The concepts of lean production have developed from the Toyota Production System, so it is easy to assume that lean thinking benefits manufacturing companies and not service organisations. However, service environments can benefit from the direct application of lean-thinking concepts. Many services already think lean, although they may not recognise the terminology.

The chapter discusses statistical process control and develops mean and range charts to determine whether a process is in control, which means producing output within a pre-calculated range. Tested output exceeding that range signals an investigation of the cause. The function of control charts is to indicate the possible presence of assignable cause variation.