In this era of industrialization, the term “Lean Manufacturing” is very famous and well known for the manufacturing and service sectors. The importance of Lean cannot be ignored either in manufacturing or service because it focuses on continuously improving the system’s efficiency. It has a long history of evolution with different methods and techniques.
- The concept of lean originated in the 18th century by Eli Whitney, an inventor who separated cotton seeds from raw cotton fibers. He had saved ample time wasted during this process and improved the efficiency and productivity of the system. In the late 18th century, he was the first person who has used the concept of interchangeability to produce guns for the U.S. Army. This effort revolutionized the mass production system and delivered the product at a low price.
2. Moreover, during the late 19th century, Fredrick Taylor, known as the Father of Scientific Management, introduced the concept of time study. He also initiated the standardized work plan, which helped a lot in system engineering.
3. In 1902, Sakichi Toyoda introduced the concept of Jidoka that gave a solid base to the advent of lean manufacturing. He invented a textile loom that could stop when the thread broke down. It helped the manufacturers to avoid the production of defective fabric.
4. Furthermore, in 1905, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, known as the pioneer of Scientific Management and motion study, added to the work of Fredrick Taylor and introduced the concept of process charting and motion study. He taught the business experts to run their business in the best way to get the optimum output with the best utilization of the resources. He also introduced the concept of “Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI),” which is the base of today’s world of industrialization.
5. In 1906, Vilfredo Pareto gave a law of 80-20, commonly known as the Pareto law or 80-20 rule. In this theory, he presented that 80% of the wealth was distributed to 20% of the population or vice versa. Later on, J.M. Juran conceptualized the overall Pareto Principle and emphasized to sorting out the vital few from the trivial many.
In 1906, Vilfredo Pareto gave a law of 80-20, commonly known as the Pareto law or 80-20 rule. In this theory, he presented that 80% of the wealth was distributed to 20% of the population or vice versa. Later on, J.M. Juran conceptualized the overall Pareto Principle and emphasized to sorting out the vital few from the trivial many.
6. Then, in the early 20th century, Henry Ford, known as the pioneer of the assembly system, introduced the concept of an assembly line by using the principles of accuracy, precision, and flow. He introduced his model T and produced hundreds of cars. Later, Henry moved to Highland Park, and it was the beginning of Lean Manufacturing (LM) and Just-in-Time (JIT).
7. In 1924, Walter Shewhart invented the control charts. The base of the control chart was the common cause and special cause of the problem.
8. In 1937, one of the aircraft industries from Germany introduced the concept of Takt time. It was considered a revolution in the assembly line. In later years, this concept was implemented by Toyota, Japan.
During 1947-1949, Taiichi Ohno focused on improving the shop floor layout using different scientific management techniques that included the following:
- Machines arrangement, process flow to product flow
- Beginning of multi-process handling
- Time study and motion analysis
- Concept of “waste elimination.”
- Reduction in work in process inventory
- Concept of in-process inspection
9. In 1950, William Edwards Deming was invited to Japan, and he delivered some lectures and emphasized focusing on quality to reduce expenses and improve productivity. It was the beginning of Toyota Production System (TPS)
10. Taiichi Ohno further improved the Toyota Production System in later years by incorporating the following refinements.
- Introducing 4S
- Introduction of Creative suggestion system
- Reduction of batch sizes and change over time
- Kanban implementation
- Production leveling mixed assembly
In later years, Toyota Motors implemented some modern concepts of Lean. It had reduced the change over time by introducing the Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) concept. Additionally, it helped a lot to improve the quality and reduce the defects.
The titans working for catapulting the lean manufacturing is documented throughout the history and has enabled many organizations to learn from the history of lean manufacturing and applying them n their concerned lean manufacturing operations.
To be continued. . . . . . .