It's Best to Start Small

One of the truly great attributes of Lean Manufacturing is that (unlike some other methodologies), with lean you can start small -- and then grow from there. In fact, a Lean implimentation aften begins with a single machine or process -- or even a single metric within that single machine.

After achieving success with the first implimentation of Lean Manufacturing, one can expand the process to other machines. The basic approach to starting a single-machine Lean approoach is as follows:

  • Senior management to agree and discuss their lean vision

  • Management brainstorm to identify project leader and set objectives

  • Communicate plan and vision to the workforce

  • Ask for volunteers to form the Lean Implementation team (5-7 works best, all from different departments)

  • Appoint members of the Lean Manufacturing Implementation Team

  • Train the Implementation Team in the various lean tools - make a point of trying to visit other non competing businesses which have implemented lean

  • Select a Pilot Project to implement – 5S is a good place to start

  • Run the pilot for 2–3 months - evaluate, review and learn from your mistakes

  • Roll out pilot to other factory areas

  • Evaluate results, encourage feedback

  • Stabilize the positive results by teaching supervisors how to train the new standards you've developed

  • Once you are satisfied that you have a habitual program, consider introducing the next lean tool. Select the one which will give you the biggest return for your business.

  • Steps in LEAN

    The following steps should be implemented in order to create the ideal lean manufacturing system:
  • Design a simple manufacturing system
  • Recognize that there is always room for improvement
  • Continuously improve the lean manufacturing system design

  • A simple manufacturing system

    A fundamental principle of lean manufacturing is demand-based flow manufacturing. In this type of production setting, inventory is only pulled through each production center when it is needed to meet a customer’s order.

    Always room for improvement

    The core of lean is founded on the concept of continuous product and process improvement and the elimination of non-value added activities. The Value adding activities are simply only those things the customer is willing to pay for, everything else is waste, and should be eliminated.

    Continuously improve

    A continuous improvement mindset is essential to reach a company's goals.


    A set of performance metrics which is considered to fit well in a Lean environment is overall equipment effectiveness, or OEE

    Contact Info:




    William S. Howard
    President, Stability Technology, Inc.

    (770) 331 - 2283