Advantages and Disadvantages of the Lean Production Process

Seminar Paper, 2019

8 Pages, Grade: very good


Table of Contents

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Lean Production Process

Introduction to Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing Process of Jaguar ’s Production

Real-World Examples of Successful Lean Method Implementation

Real-World Examples of Failed Lean Method Implementation




Advantages and Disadvantages of the Lean Production Process

Cynthia Fanning stated, “To be competitive, we have to look for every opportunity to improve efficiencies and productivity while increasing quality. Lean manufacturing principles have improved every aspect of our processes (Wheeler, C., 2016).”

The chapters presented next give a definition of lean manufacturing and how Jaguar implemented the lean manufacturing process in its production. Those two chapters are followed by real-world examples that succeed and fail by applying lean methods to their business. The paper concludes with a personal and professional takeaways based on the reviewed case study about Jaguar. The aim of this work is to give an overview of lean manufacturing.

Introduction to Lean Manufacturing

The publication Machine That Changed The World, published by Womack and Jones, has introduced lean manufacturing in 1990 (Rouse, M., 2018).

Lean manufacturing is “a strategy, which strives to embed a culture of continuous improvement, whereby everyone seeks to identify and eliminate waste, enabling the business to deliver customer expectations at minimal cost and lead time (Educational Business Articles, n.d.).” Lean manufacturing is the identification of value-added processes which can not be eliminated or reduced.

Lean Manufacturing Process of Jaguar’s Production

Jaguar, a car manufacturer, underwent several changes to implement a lean manufacturing process in its factory in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The process was driven by four main innovations: (1) change process, (2) ‘just-in-time ’ approach, (3) visible management, and (4) ownership of work. A brief explanation of each change and its impact on the transformation process from a conventional manufacturer to a lean manufacturer is presented next (Business Case Studies, n.d.).

(1) Change Process

Jaguar, which “had an established culture of quality” (Business Case Studies, n.d.), laid the foundation of the change process by hiring consultants who were essential to improving the ways of working as well as to ensure the ongoing development of the quality at the factory.

The change process was characterized by three principles: (1a) patterns of working relationships, (1b) patterns of decision making, and (1c) cellular working.

The patterns of working relationships have been restructured from operating in a hierarchical organization to in a flat organization at the factory. In Jaguar, a group with a supervisor responsible for up to thirty workers has been transformed into a group with one team leader and seven team members.

The patterns of decision making have been changed from a ‘tell-and-do’ approach to a ‘take responsibility for its own work’ approach. In reality, in which workers were controlled from their group leaders was replaced by each worker takes responsibility for its work and uses the team leader as support. It has resulted in increased quality and productivity.

The cellular working was characterized by small teams which were supported by efficiently designed tools. Those teams have done on-the-job training instead of theoretical training (Business Case Studies, n.d.).

(2) ‘Just-in-Time’ Approach

Jaguar’s former production was distinguished by a factory organization that significantly affected the consecutive processes. The usage of batches of components lead to a cluttered workspace which resulted in a confined and limited space.

The new principle ‘just-in-time’ was implemented by using only the required components in the production and by introducing a signal button to request new components from the central store.

Cutting out waste, minimizing workspace, working in an organized work area, reducing movements, and reducing the amount of damaged components have been contributed to production at the required speed and quality (Business Case Studies, n.d.).

(3) Visible Management

Foremost, the visible management requires each worker to understand the mechanism of the factory. This knowledge has been applied to the production line. This innovation was implemented in two approaches: (3a) the control board and (3b) the information center.

The control board has two functions: (1) show daily production targets and (2) visualize and tracks problems in the production. Along with the control board, Jaguar has applied the Japanese technic ‘gemba’ that has encouraged the company to solve challenges st the moment when it occurs as each worker has to achieve the highest quality. Furthermore, the company is able to determine problems more quickly.

The information center functions as a ‘three-minute-management’ approach and represents work-related problems in form of charts which are signed by high-management employees to express united responsibility (Business Case Studies, n.d.).

(4) Ownership of Work

Finally, Jaguar has delegated responsibility for the process and for the consumed process time to each worker by letting them put their work in writing. A process standardization was required to keep the quality level and to shift ownership. It has applied two techniques: (1) Yamazumi Board (Stream Mapping) and (2) Value Adding-Thinking.

The Yamazumi Board shows a chart of value-added activities and non-value activities in their time consumption. It has affected that work sections were assigned in a fair manner.

The Value Adding-Thinking lead to a reduction of non-value added activities. There are seven key opportunities a.o. reduce waiting time, decrease inventory, and implement a non-repair culture (Business Case Studies, n.d.).

All in all, the Jaguar production has implemented successful new innovations to cut out waste and illustrated a good example for other Ford productions. The next chapter provides three real-world examples of successful lean method implementations and three real-world examples of failed lean method implementations.

Real-World Examples of Successful Lean Method Implementation

Three examples that moved to lean manufacturing are (1) John Deere (agriculture), (2) Textron Systems (aerospace), and (3) Intel (technology).

John Deere implemented a lean manufacturing a.o. by integrating a full turnkey installation, by producing machining to order, and by setting up the machines in a space-saving manner. The company has started by going through its part catalog and by identifying its workflow. The full turnkey installation, in form of an independent machine system, lead to higher flexibility, increased machine efficiency as well as compactness. In the past, John Deere produced time-consuming, had long waiting times and consumed enormous workspace with its old setup. The machining by order cut the waste due to the change from batch production to demand production. The space-saving setup reduced workers, decreased the inventory from 40 days to two days, and improved the machining times (Rakowski, L., 2003).

Textron Systems applied lean manufacturing methods in the 1990s. The implementation affected management turnover, organizational development as well as the areas of training. The management turnover was defined by the “10X” initiative that included the management’s commitment to resources and support for the workforce. The instable organization was turned into a focused organization on growth, skills, and capabilities.

The area of training was characterized by multiple layers of management to the training process that was very challenging in this type of market and prevented the realization of the potential of the candidates in the work area. Textron invented succesfully the “10X”-program which built teams that focus on ever-shifting company requirements (Cutcher-Gershenfield, J., 2001).

In 2005, Intel, a technology company, was confrontated with the challenge of how to keep up the good pace of the innovative company development according to high quality and to profitability. By 2013, it discovered the Scaled Agile Framework which would allow eliminating waste by focusing on constant improvement. Intel successfully implemented the broader lean method due to the standardization of the execution and planning processes, the leader’s attendance at trainings which supported to map out roles, principles, and tools, the management’s communication about the reasons of this program, and the constant training of the workers (SAFe, n.d.).

Real-World Examples of Failed Lean Method Implementation

Three examples that failed to apply lean methods are (1) Loadstar (Pvt.) Ltd. (wheel manufacturer), (2) General Motors (car manufacturer), and (3) Home Depot furniture manufacturer).

Loadstar is one of the largest wheel manufacturers in the world. The company tried to build a lean organization by introducing the loadstar production system. It a.o. applied the Japanese concept KAIZEN (Sandaruwan, S., 2015). The implementation partially failure due to an incompatible organization structure as a top-down approach, financial incapability and difficulty for, e.g., consultation to get an outside-of-the-box thinking, and an incompetent leadership (Raveendra, L., 2009).

In 1984, General Motors, an American car manufacturer, tried to establish a lean method by implementing the program NUMMI with Toyota. The aim of the program was to build the Toyota Program System. The company successfully implemented in a few divisions of the company.


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Advantages and Disadvantages of the Lean Production Process
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advantages, disadvantages, lean, production, process
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Friederike Berg (Author), 2019, Advantages and Disadvantages of the Lean Production Process, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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