Lean Production bases on a variety of different tools. Well-known are tools like Kanban or 5S. However, far more lean production tools exist. In this article, we show you the most important methods of lean production and which tools you should start with.
Methods of Lean Production
Let us categorize all the lean tools into four groups: The enabler tools which enables further lean activities, the basic tools, the expert tools and the professional tools. If you are new to the methods of lean production, you should start with the enabler lean tools. These tools are easy to implement and result in quick wins on any shop floor.
The Enabling Lean Tools (Level 1)
Enabling Lean Tools are tools like the lean layout or Obeyaka, supplier delivery milkruns, 5S, takt time, the right packaging design and SMED / changeover reduction. Tools like the lean layout are also part of the free download PDF you can get on this webpage for free.
Methods of Lean Production
The Basic Lean Tools (Level 2)
For the more experienced lean users, the basic lean tools result in the typical lean benefits on the shop floor: Like a decrease of used floor space or a reduction of necessary workers. The basic lean tools are standardization, the Mizusumashi or water spider, one piece flow, elimination of any buffer, the 2-box principle and visualization.
Use these tools once a lean foundation is established.
The Expert Lean Tools (Level 3)
The expert tools contain actions for experienced lean users. We know these tools quite good from lean consultancies and lean manufacturers who have strong lean knowledge in their organization. If you want to become a lean expert for your own, you should focus to become used to these tools. The tools are lean training, safety and ergonomics, the operator-process flexibility, lean storage, Andon systems and the pull and Kanban principle:
Download the free e-book to step deeper into the tools of lean production.
The Professional Lean Tools (Level 4)
Last but not least: The professional tool. These tools have the biggest impact on any shop floor. Most savings can be achieved by using these tools, though they require strong lean knowledge and a strong organization supporting lean activities in their factory.
The professional lean tools are the Heijunka box and production leveling, total productive maintenance, the Yamazumi or line balancing activity, mixed model production, design for manufacturing and Jidoka.
However, regardless at which point of your lean career you are, you must focus on these 24 lean production tools. Regardless in which company you apply any lean activity, you will end up to struggle with the tools mentioned above.
If you want to learn more about lean production, download the free eBook mentioned above and start to boost your lean experience by pushing any lean transformation you are involved in!