Lean Manufacturing

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The pressure on manufacturing organizations has increased dramatically over the last 15 years. This has been driven by globalization in the aftermath of the Cold War, the liberalization of markets, and the emergence and growth of economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Organizations that continue to manufacture in high-cost countries must eliminate any fat from their manufacturing if they are to remain competitive.

Lean manufacturing is now a widely adopted philosophy for focusing on customer value-adding activities through eliminating waste and striving towards continuous improvement. An ARC Groups strategy report authored by Simon Bragg (2004) suggests that today 36 percent of U.S. manufacturers and 70 percent of U.K. manufacturers are using lean as their primary improvement methodology. There is nothing radically new in lean manufacturing. It has evolved over the last 50 years from its roots in the Toyota Production System and today embodies a variety of concepts and techniques.

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