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Understanding Lean Production

The article will go over the Business Studies A2 topic, lean production. This will include JIT (just in time), bench marking, TQM (total quality management), time based management, cell production, BPB (best practice bench marking), minimum standard bench marks and kaizen. Feel free to skip to the parts most relevant to you.

Lean production is a Japanese concept about removing waste: ‘muda’

  • Time Based Management – This involved the construction and use of networks and simultaneous engineering (ability to do more than one thing at one time). This links to F.W. Taylor with his time and motion studies.
  • JIT (Just in Time) – Reduce stock (therefore tied up on working capital) to a minimum.
  • TQM (Total Quality Management) – Quality standards are applied to all jobs. Everyone has a focus on quality.
  • Cell Production– Breaking down a long production line into specific ‘cells’, which would complete parts of the overall process. Cell production empowers workers to give them the opportunity to control and change things. This results in teamwork, workers wanting to always improve and results in productivity and motivation.
  • Bench Marking – targets to achieve. 
  • Best Practice Bench Marking (BPB) – Look to find the ‘best’ firm in the industry and then aim to match that over time. E.g. Ryanair is the most cost efficient airline which makes others look to meet the same standards.
  • Minimum Standard Bench Marks – Level of performance you don’t want to fall below. 
  • Kaizen – Culture of philosophy of challenging ‘satisfying’ (that’s good enough) and encouraging staff to look for ways to ‘continuously improve’, optimise or maximise. It can be hard to change the mindset of people but change is inevitable.

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