lean product design

In product design, you may encounter some jargon that may confuse you? One of them is lean. This article will define what is a lean and help you learn more about it.

Are you wondering what is a lean in product design? Worry less. A lean is a rational way of creating the best value to your customer while minimizing waste and eliminating non-value adding activities. Some of the waste that ought to be eliminated include energy, time, resources, and effort.

The term value refers to the process or action that the customer can willingly pay without any objection. Lean focuses only on preserving value but with less work. It aims to come up with improved efficiencies that, in turn, create enhanced process flow and increased speed in production.

Lean uses tools that assist in monitoring waste and eliminate it. Once the waste is eliminated, quality improves automatically, while cost and time used to produce the product or service reduces. Lean ensures that things are done in the right way, at the right place, at the right time, and using the correct quantity—all these results in a sustainable workflow, reduced waste, and flexibility to changes.

This principle is applied based on the customer’s perspective regarding a product or service.

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What Does a Lean Involve?

It involves:

  • Understanding what’s happening in the area of value creation
  • Improving the way products and services are made and delivered.
  • Nurturing and empowering your staff through coaching or problem-solving.
  • Nurturing great leaders and developing an effective management system.

Benefits of a Lean

What is a lean and what are some of the benefits?
Understanding a lean helps companies gain a competitive advantage

Understanding lean helps an organization to outwit other organizations in the market and improve its innovation. And when a company becomes innovative and competitive, it no doubt becomes sustainable.

Today, lean’s approach has gained traction and can be used by any organization (regardless of its size) and sector.

Moreover, it’s one of the most effective ways to have work done. In a lean organization, opportunities are obtained from problems. Any problem acts as a learning ground. If an error occurs, its resolved systematically rather than quickly and inefficiently.

Managers here coach the staff on how to comfortably identify a problem and practice on the best ways to improving continually. On the other hand, leaders ensure that they create a management system that supports the kind of work being done or any other engaged task at hand.

Origin of Lean

What is a lean and where did it originate it from?
Lean originally originated from Japan

Lean originated from the Japanese manufacturing industry. Bob Hartman was the first person to use this term in his article back in 1988, “The Triumph of Lean Production system.” The originator and the influencer of the Lean philosophy was the Toyota Production System (TPS)- engineered by Japanese auto manufacturers.

Lean involved seven waste principles. From then, lean gained popularity, and now many companies and businesses have embraced it.

Types of Waste Principles in Lean

Overproduction

Overproduction occurs when you produce more than what the consumers need. It can be the worst type of waste since it contributes to other wastes like excessive inventory.

Defects

This involves the principle where products are damaged, resulting in additional costs such as repair, rework, re-scheduling production, or re-processing.

Excessive Inventory

This involves capital outlay that’s yet to produce any income at any stage. It can occur either from the manufacturer’s or consumer’s side. Inventory that’s not utilized to add value to the consumer is termed as waste.

Waiting

Waiting here can be of two types. First, when goods have been processed and yet to be transported to the consumer. Second, it can refer to employees who are not engaged in any work, but they’re waiting for a particular activity or process.

Unnecessary Transportation

Type of waste that involves moving a product unnecessarily. If a product is moved anyhow, it stands a risk of being lost, delayed, or being damaged. Again, it may cause other additional costs like energy and labor.

Excessive Motion

In contrast to transportation, excessive motion occurs in the context of a worker, producer, or equipment. When workers are not settled, they can interfere with tools or machinery. Also, excessive motion may be an open door for risks such as safety, damages, and wear.

Over-Processing

This type of waste occurs when a particular work is performed on service or product until it exceeds the customer’s needs and wants. This includes using systems, tools, or materials that are more excessive, expensive, complex, or precise than absolutely required.

Principles of Lean

  1. Identify the customer value
  2. Map the value stream
  3. Create a flow
  4. Establish pull
  5. Seek perfection

Why Lean Works in Product Design

It Balances Between Effectiveness and Efficiency

Lean helps you to create the best value for your customer while reducing resources, effort, and time. Again, it involves steps or activities that add value to the customer and minimize non-value adding activities and steps.

Emphasizes Knowledge of Work

Lean requires you to learn the initial stages of the product or service first. In this way, you’ll be able to identify gaps. It’s from those gaps that you’ll determine the successful tools and methods.

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