Business - Operations Management - Lean Production

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  • Created on: 25-03-08 16:29
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Business ­ Angela Emma Rudd BMA
Operations Management
Lean Production
What is Lean Production?
Lean production aims to reduce all forms of waste in the production process. This includes
the waste of materials, time, energy and human effort. Lean production streamlines
operations so that costs are reduced and efficiency increased. To achieve this a number of
techniques have been developed aimed at getting things right first time and reducing
wastage levels.
The techniques involved include:
Cell production
Timebased management
Just in Time production
Techniques of Lean Production
Cell Production
Cell production is a method of organising production around teams. Instead of producing
items on a production line, the process is divided into a series of different stages. Each team
is given the responsibility for a stage in the process.
An advantage of this approach is that teams are responsible for a complete unit of work.
Instead of an individual working on one simple task and having no real involvement with the
final product, working in cells can give employees a sense of team spirit. It can also improve
quality because teams have work for which they have overall responsibility and they can
clearly see the results of their efforts.
Cell production can be very motivating for employees because they feel they have more
control over their own work. The team members can organise amongst themselves when
and how items are produced. They can also share their skills and expertise. Team members
are also likely to feel much greater responsibility for the work because the next cell has the
right to refuse their work if it is of poor quality. Cell production involves selfchecking by team
Timebased Production
With the levels of competition in most markets increasing rapidly, firms are always looking
for new ways pf outcompeting their rivals. Many firms have tried to use time as a
competitive weapon. If a firm is able to produce an item in a shorter period of time than its
competitors, or delivery it more rapidly to customers, more sale may result.
As customers become eager for instant service the ability to supply items as and when they
are wanted may be crucial to a businesses success. Firms must try to reduce the time it
takes to produce / develop a product. Also, with new products being launched more
frequently and with rapidly changing customer tastes, products do not tend to survive for as
long as they have done in the past. Over 80% of new products are likely to fail in the first few
years. It may be important, therefore to develop products very quickly to keep competitive in
the market.
To speed up the development of products, firms have adopted simultaneous engineering
methods. These involve getting all engineers and designers who are concerned with a

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Business ­ Angela Emma Rudd BMA
project to work on it at the same time. Instead of having one person look at a product idea,
develop it and then pass it on to the next person or department, time can be saved if
everyone is looking and discussing the work simultaneously. This process has become
easier due to the increasing use of information technology. This enables employees to
communicate and share information easily.…read more

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Business ­ Angela Emma Rudd BMA
way of doing things, its own skills and its own circumstances. They may have to adapt the
other firm's methods for their own use.
Lean Production and People
For lean production techniques to work, employees must try constantly to improve the way
the business works. This requires a high level of employee involvement and empowerment.
In the past many managers have been rather authoritarian towards their employees.…read more


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