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Lean Manufacturing: 3 Critical Principles for Improving Productivity

The "go green" movement may have seemed like a passing fad many years ago when it first entered mainstream consciousness.  To some, it resembled something that brought to mind the free-spirited and anti-establishment countercultures of the late 1960s more than it did a modern step toward environmentally responsible living.  Despite skepticism, sustainable living has become an integral part of our daily lives.

Principles and standards that guide eco-friendly ways of living and doing business are often referred to as "lean" principles, and the term is used most frequently in the manufacturing industry.  Essentially, operating under lean concepts means you're trimming the fat, so to speak, and reducing the amount of by-products and waste generated by your company during the production process.  Originally introduced by Japanese automaker Toyota Production Systems, lean manufacturing focuses on eliminating everything that goes into creating your product, from employee labor to raw materials, that does not add value in some way for your customers.

Topics: Productivity Lean Manufacturing

Turn 6 Minutes into $5,000 and Make Employees Happy [infographic]

Business with warehousing, shipping, inventory control systems and facilities have heard of Lean Manufacturing systems, 5S Methodology and the 7 types of wastes. 5S is a way of thinking and philosophy focused on creating a well-managed and organized workspace by eliminating wastes – one of which is motion.

Topics: Infographic Lean Manufacturing

3 Biggest Myths in Lean Manufacturing

There are many examples where lean manufacturing has inspired a new and arguably better way to eliminate waste. To appreciate it, you have to understand what adherents of this paradigm mean by "waste." The term, put simply, refers to anything—tools, processes, materials, activities, personnel—that does not contribute to the value of a product or service as perceived by the customer.

But there are a lot of misconceptions about lean manufacturing that, when left unchecked, could devalue brands and companies committed to the paradigm. Here are some of those myths, along with the facts. Remember, making a well-informed decision—not blindly adopting just about any aspect of the paradigm—is the key to getting the most value of it.

Topics: Lean Manufacturing