Lean Production is a philosophy of Process Management which is derived from the Toyota Production System (TPS) and from other sources.
It is known for having placed its emphasis on the reduction of the “seven wastes” to improve customer value. Once the work of added-value has been separated from the waste, the waste can be divided into “what should be done but does not add value” and pure waste. The clear identification of the “work of non-value added”, as distinct from waste or work, it is crucial to identify existing conditions and believe that should be confronted and challenged in the future. The steady growth of Toyota, from a small player to become the largest automobile company, and with more value to the world, has focused attention on how it managed to do it, making “Lean Production” a hot topic of Managerial Sciences at the beginning of the 21st century.
For many people Lean Production is a set of tools that assist in the identification and steady elimination of waste: the quality has improved, the time and the production costs are reduced. To solve the problem of waste, Lean Production has various tools at its disposal. These include Kaizen (continuous process improvement), the “5 S”, the “5 Why?” and Poka-Yoke (anti-errors).
There is a second approach to Lean Production (sponsored by Toyota) in which the focus is placed on improving the “flow” of the work (Walls) through the system and not just with the reduction. The techniques used to improve flow include production leveling, Kanban (Pull management technique) and the Heijunka box.
The difference between these two approaches is not the goal to be achieved but the way that we use to achieve it. The implementation of a smooth flow exposes quality problems that have always existed, and the reduction of waste is its natural consequence. The advantage of this approach is that it takes a wide view of the system.