The term "lean manufacturing" means different things to different people. However, it can generally be agreed upon that lean manufacturing represents a management philosophy that emphasizes the elimination or reduction of waste in order to increase company profitability. In other words, doing more with less.
Lean manufacturing is often associated with the Toyota Production System (TPS) that helped catapult the car-maker into worldwide prominence. But some industry experts trace its roots back to the Industrial Revolution and Eli Whitney's systemization involving interchangeable parts. Others link lean manufacturing with the Six Sigma set of practices designed to improve processes. In any event, the TPS is often cited as a successful model for implementation of lean manufacturing principles.
Keeping that in mind, consider the following eight steps for applying lean manufacturing to your business operation: