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Lean Manufacturing is About Reducing 7 Waste Areas

Lean manufacturing and transportation systems are based on high efficiency and reduction of waste while respecting people. Lean approaches are rippling through industry sectors,.

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Conservation is about reducing waste -- or looking at everything in the way nature does. Nature has no waste, everything has a use in some other way.

"Lean" is the industrialized interpretation of nature's organic reframing of "waste". It is about removing waste from industrial processes.

"Lean" is a set of management practices based on the Toyota Production System (TPS). The phrase "Lean Production" was created by MIT researchers who wrote the book "The Machine That Changed The World."

According to Mark Graban, editor of Lean Blog lean has been applied in manufacturing (factories, product design, and administrative functions) as well as service industries (including healthcare, banking, and government).

Lean Production is basically the same process as:

  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Lean Enterprise
  • Lean Thinking
  • Lean Healthcare

Lean systems promote 1) Elimination of waste and 2) Respect for people. Some of the notable lean leaders include Gary Convis, from Toyota, and Tom LaSorda, from Daimler Chrysler.

Much of the "people side" of lean was adapted by the teachings of the American professor and consultant W. Edwards Deming, who taught Toyota and other Japanese companies after World War II. Lean was also adapted from Toyota's study of the early practices of Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company.

Toyota's corporate website has a set of TPS pages with some videos that explain core TPS concepts.

Applying Lean Principles to Transportation and Trucking

While the lean manufacturing concept has been promoted in the US for many years, it is still rippling through industry niches. Many industry niches have adopted lean concepts -- from the US Army to manufacturing, and now, transportation. The basic concepts of "just-in-time" manufacturing has its roots in lean practices.

Transportation -- including long distance trucking to serve the global supply chain, is facing the need to reduce waste due to the increasing costs of fuel. Lean trucking will be looking at alternatives such as locating facilities close to customers and suppliers.

"Globalization will slow dramatically in the peak oil world where the 12,000-mile supply chain linking the United States and Asia is fast becoming obsolete. Shippers and carriers must work together to achieve dense networks consolidate loads and balanced lanes, adjusting to capacity needs," according to Chuck Taylor, the founder of Awake! whose mission is to advise supply chain professionals about critical changes that will result from the end of cheap oil.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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