Lean production is the production system of the 21st century like mass production was the production system of the 20th century.
Lean thinking example of empty soap boxes
"A Japanese soap factory used to produce soap boxes with too many instances of boxes delivered without the soap inside. The production chain consisted of preparing the soap in a nice shape on the one hand, building the box matching with the soap shape on the other hand, and finally putting the soap in the box. That sounds simple, yet many boxes ended up delivered to the customers without a soap inside!
After receiving several customers complaints, the factory manager could not afford to let so many defects out of his factory anymore… but, as everyone, he had tough budget constraints: no question to hire someone to check every single box had a soap inside before being delivered (considering the volumes of soaps being produced, it would have required dozens of people anyway); no question to invest in an expensive machine to X-ray, or even weight each box (beyond the machine investment, that would have also required more people to maintain the machine, and deal with the defects spotted by the machine anyway).
So, the soap manager brainstormed with his team, with the objective to find a simple and cheap solution to prevent the defects (empty boxes) from being delivered to the customers… and the solution came! A fan ! Put a fan above the last element of the production chain: empty boxes will fly away! It took very little time and money to put the fan in place, and now the soap factory has regained the confidence of its customers."
What is Lean?
Lean is the systematic identification and elimination of waste.
Benefits of Lean
Lower production costs
Quicker product development
Greater system flexibility
5 Areas that drive a Lean Producer
Are Lean techniques applicable to the service industry?