Archives for August 2017

Lean Manufacturing leads to greater efficiency

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 08/14/2017 | 8:39 AM

Guest article by Dr. Keith Wade, American Public University System

Lean Manufacturing leads to greater efficiency

Lean manufacturing or Lean production is termed as a systematic approach that is used for elimination of waste within any given manufacturing system. Also, Lean considers wastes that are created through overburden and wastes being generated through unevenness in workloads. Lean is said to be based on making standard functionalities that add value by reducing any given element. Various benefits and risks are associated with Lean manufacturing. Below is the discussion entailing these advantages and risks (Myerson, 2012).

Improved quality and fewer defects

In Lean manufacturing, when batching and lot production are put away, there is always a less chance to manufacture defects. The reason is that the quantity time will be just one. Besides that, there will be no mountains of inventory to count, store, move and pick. Another reason is based on the single flow in Lean manufacturing that makes sure that any given problem that might be existing in the production is identified and rectified. Batch processing eliminates hours that are isolated to test other materials in the same production run to assess if they meet the necessary threshold (Myerson, 2012).

Lean manufacturing leads to reduced inventories

By implementing single section, flow needs each operation only to yield what is required by the subsequent process. When monitored properly, the process tends to remove any given opportunity to build ahead. Hence, inventories tend not to be permitted to accumulate. Since inventories levels are reduced, the reduced inventory results in less space being used.  The results in reduced human resources which are always required to store, count, deliver, stock and manage it. Besides that, single piece flow ensures there is manufacturing cells that squeeze machines into a single operator that has the capability of overseeing numerous pieces of equipment with the least number of walking motion (Myerson, 2012).

Lean manufacturing increases workers morale

Because there is the single piece of flow results, then the production issues that might be identified are solved on time, and team members can receive instant feedback on their respective work. Production feedback gives workers more ownership in their respective production areas. Besides that, due to the presence of Lean production workers tends to lead in solving their different efforts by focusing on the approaches and not in individuals. Through this method, there is more trust in managers (Myerson, 2012).

Lean Manufacturing leads to a safer environment

Lean production means there are fewer inventories that imply the presence of lighter on production methods and less clutter. Because all the stakeholders know the individual repeating tasks, this means there is less opportunity for sudden movements that lead to chances of accidents.

Risks Associated with Lean Manufacturing

Customer Dissatisfaction risks

Since Lean manufacturing process is dependent on supplier efficiency, the presence of any given disruption in the supply chain can be a problem that might affect overall stakeholders. Besides that, delivery delays can lead to sustainable marketing issues that can be hard to overcome.

High costs involved in implementation

The application of Lean manufacturing method means that the previous physical infrastructures and systems will be ultimately be dismantled. Besides that, the process of training of a new set of workers can be the length and the acquisition of managers who are experienced to deliver quality services might be expensive since even the payroll to maintain their salaries is also high. When focusing on machines that are needed to support Lean production, the setup of smaller work cells usually leads to long-term debts. Small and medium-sized businesses might be subjected to costs changeovers to Lean manufacturing that ends up being prohibitive (Myerson, 2012).

Costs of Failure

It is said that under the worst conditions, it is usually simpler that Lean production will not prove to be successful. The change to Lean requires a permanent overhaul of the company. As a result, workers might be lost because there are poor relationships and services with suppliers that might deteriorate. Also, it might not be feasible to backtrack to the old method of doing things; this usually leads to the ultimate failure of the business (Myerson, 2012).

Over-Focus on Waste

Lean production approach mainly focuses on elimination of waste that tends to override other concerns. Besides that, Lean strives to make sure efficiency and productivity primarily through cutting flab, however, in the process, this manufacturing method ends up ignoring other critical parameters such as wellness of workers and corporate social responsibility that are crucial factors needed to develop a good relationship with employees. Therefore, Lean manufacturing fails to address other critical concerns that end up making it ineffective to be fully implemented in any given production firm (Myerson, 2012).


In a nutshell, even though Lean production has got some benefits and risks at the equal measure, it is important to have solutions to the real risks that are in the Lean production. The move to Lean will increase the levels of success of any given firm. When overall production method is rectified then, the companies can get more profits and manage their business more efficiently.



Myerson, P. (2012). Lean supply chain and logistics management. New York: McGraw-Hill.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon is program director of the Reverse Logistics department at American Public University. Dr. Gordon has over twenty-five years of professional experience in supply chain management and human resources. He holds a Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, as well earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA. Dr. Gordon has spent more than 14 years teaching reverse logistics, transportation, project management, and human resources. He has published articles on reverse logistics; supply chain management; project management; human resources; education, and complexity. He has also published four books on Reverse Logistics Management; Complexity and Project Management; Virtual Project Management Organizations, and Successful Program Management..

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