All companies should constantly seek to create and maintain a competitive advantage in order to survive and thrive. The existing methods that can help the organizations to surpass their rivals may include innovative production, effective marketing, adherence to the principles of sustainability, and building good relations with partners, to name a few. Another important management and manufacturing approach that helps businesses to gain an advantage is lean production. In simple terms, the latter concept implies that organizations should seek to reduce waste associated with production while assuring the good quality of the goods and services.
In this regard, based on numerous case studies and empirical data, it was found that companies that adopt such a strategy outrun their competitors (Netland, 2018). For that reason, firstly, it is important to discuss what the lean approach is, why the companies should seek to implement this method in practice, and how lean production could be achieved. Secondly, based on that discussion, it is crucial to analyze how lean production and quality are related.
The reduction of wastes related to the production process is at the forefront of any business operations due to associated cost improvements. The former can include the attempts to minimize irrational usage not only of material goods but also of human capital and time. Therefore, over-production, waiting periods, defects in final products, and unnecessary stock accumulation can all be considered waste. In this regard, lean production, which originated in Japan, is a paradigm that aims to counter irrational management of resources in order to reduce their misuse (Sahoo & Yadav, 2018).
The extensive scientific evidence suggests that applying certain strategies of the lean approach can indeed reduce the money that businesses spend on their operations. For instance, the analysis of previous studies by Raj et al. (2017) revealed that application in practice of main lean methods could help to significantly reduce production costs and lead time and slightly (by 10%) increase the quality of merchandise. Moreover, Sahoo & Yadav (2018) maintain that this approach can positively affect delivery date, planning, scheduling, and production volumes. Therefore, it is apparent that the lean philosophy has positive effects throughout most crucial company operations.
Lean production is an umbrella term for more specifically-oriented strategies and serves more as an overall operation paradigm. More concrete methods usually include time-based management, simultaneous engineering, Just-in-Time production, quality management, Six Sigma, and Kaizen, among others (Netland, 2018; Carnerud et al., 2018; Munawar et al., 2017). For instance, under the Just-in-Time approach, managers seek to assure that materials necessary for production arrive exactly at the demanded time in order to reduce inventory costs and waste. On the other hand, Kaizen implies that the companies should pursue continuous improvement of all the workers from top to bottom (Carnerud et al., 2018). Following such a paradigm is believed to help organizations to raise multi-skilled staff, which in turn assures more flexible production possibilities.
As the previous discussion revealed, the lean manufacturing system and quality are closely related. The former approach is oriented toward constant improvements and includes the methods that are intended to reduce lead time, stock accumulation, and defects in created goods and increase employee education and overall performance. All those steps ensure not only the increase in production speed and cost cuts but also quality enhancement of goods and services. Therefore, it can be concluded that lean production and quality are inseparable concepts.
In summary, the current essay discussed the essence of the term lean production, explained the benefits of this approach for businesses, and elaborated on the methods that serve as the foundation for its implementation. It was argued that following lean philosophy can lead to better company performance as it aims at reducing the waste of material, human and temporal resources. In order to achieve that, the companies can implement numerous strategies that orient to address various organizational operations. They include time-based management, simultaneous engineering, Just-in-Time production, quality management, Six Sigma and Kaizen, and some other strategies. Therefore, it was concluded that lean production and quality are highly interrelated concepts.
Carnerud, D., Jaca, C., & Bäckström, I. (2018). Kaizen and continuous improvement–trends and patterns over 30 years. The TQM Journal, 30(4), 371-390.
Munawar, H. S., Khalid, U., Jilani, R., & Maqsood, A. (2017). Version management by time based approach in modern era. International Journal of Education Management Engineering, 4, 13-20.
Netland, T. H. (2016). Critical success factors for implementing lean production: the effect of contingencies. International Journal of Production Research, 54(8), 2433-2448.
Raj, D., Ma, Y. J., Gam, H. J., & Banning, J. (2017). Implementation of lean production and environmental sustainability in the Indian apparel manufacturing industry: a way to reach the triple bottom line. International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, 10(3), 254-264.
Sahoo, S., & Yadav, S. (2018). Lean production practices and bundles: a comparative analysis. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 9(3), 374-398.