Lean Production

Lean Production

What Is Lean Production?

What Is Lean Production?

Lean production is a term that is commonly associated to the Process Perfection, Kaizen, and waste elimination tools of the Toyota Production System.  Lean is based upon the book Lean Thinking. It was written by two professors based upon their observation and interviews associated to the production and process improvements associated to the Toyota production system (TPS).

They make it quite clear in their book that the most important elements of the Toyota Production System are the establishment of a Flow manufacturing process with Pull production and pull supply chains.  Although they do not talk about how to design or create a Flow manufacturing process, nor how to create the Kanban demand pull material system, they state they are the most important step in developing the Toyota Production System.

Lean Methodology

Lean Production

Lean Six Sigma is based upon the continuous process improvement (Kaizen) of the Toyota Production System and the Motorola Quality System.    The professors write about various company approaches to their waste elimination programs.  Although the philosophers state that Lean is based upon a Flow and Pull production process, as observers they focus on continuous waste elimination as an evolutionary path to the benefits of Flow and Pull Production. 

As a contrast, the creators of the Toyota Production System, and Demand Flow Technology were long time manufacturing practitioners and engineers.

After 25 years of Lean waste elimination, leaders are questioning the concept of Lean waste elimination as a path to the bottom line results of TPS and DFT.  The majority of the Lean scheduling companies have single digit inventory turns and ERP Systems.  Flow and Pull are REQUIREMENTS for a successful Lean Enterprise.  They are the foundation…they are not to be taken lightly as afterthoughts or evolutionary visions.

Changing Lean, the Way it should be done

What is Lean Production?

Lean Production, Flow & Pull Instead of Push

Womack and Jones philosophically define Lean as…”A way to do more and more with less human effort, less equipment, less time, and less space-while coming closer and closer to providing customers with exactly what they want”.  In addition, Lean philosophical methods continuously improve products and processes while eliminating redundant activities.  Scheduling is an on-going redundant activity of ERP batch production.

The Five Basic Principles of The Lean Philosophy are:

  • Value:  Define exactly what your customers value.  In other words, determine what your customers want and need, and allow that knowledge to drive all activities.
  • Map the Value Stream: This is an “activity map” of how material and information must flow in sequence (their time and volume at defined stages of the overall stream), whereby each stage’s sole reason for existence is to add the defined Value to your product or service.
  • Create Flow: Make the Value Stream Flow.  The Value Stream must flow continuously through your organization, which means rigorously and methodically avoiding the inefficient bottlenecks of stopping and restarting, no matter where they might occur.  Poor or nonexistent flow causes any or all of the defined types of Waste to accumulate.
  • Pull: Introduce pull between all steps where continuous flow is possible.  In contrast to the “push” concept, the “pull” philosophy is a key concept of Lean Manufacturing.  The Pull method rejects the concept of sales forecasts and its attendant faults.  Via Pull, customer demand (i.e., the “pull”) defines your manufacturing.  Only products or services actually ordered by a customer are produced.
  • Perfection:  The Value Stream and Flow is continuously improved.  This is accomplished by minimizing all “muda” (waste) by employing the first four Lean principles.

In Contrasting Flow Technology vs Lean Philosophy

Both methodologies espouse the importance of a Flow and Pull production foundation.  The difference is Flow Technology (DFT) gives manufacturing the tools and the path to create the Flow and Kanban Pull.  This is the first step.  Once the Flow line is up and pulling PPM products through the process in work content time (minutes/hours), instead of lead time (days/weeks), process perfection and Kaizen are engaged.  Flow manufacturing is a revolution in design and an evolution to never ending process perfection.

Flow Is the lean Production foundation

Design a Flow / Pull Process….and THEN Continuously Perfect it

Pull Vs. Pull Manufacturing

The "Muda" of Push/Scheduling

Adhering to the traditional "Push" method risks creating any or all of the various forms of profit killing waste

  • Overproduction (waste of producing too much product)
  • Waiting (waste of idle workers)
  • Transportation (waste of moving parts from place to place)
  • Over-processing (waste of over-engineering a product beyond what customers are willing to pay for)
  • Inventory (waste via excess inventory that must be stored, with the potential that it may need to be scrapped)
  • Movement (waste of moving people or goods inefficiently or excessively)
  • Waste of making defective products







Lead Time


External Inspection


Forecast Driven


Routing & Move


Finished Goods

The Vital Gap Filled by DFT

Since Flow and Pull are two of the basic principles of Lean, both must absolutely be the foundation of your entire manufacturing effort in order to successfully realize Lean benefits.  Unfortunately, many Lean experts advise you only of the necessity of Flow and Pull, yet neglect to provide a clear method to implement them.  This is somewhat understandable, since potential barriers to Flow are complex and often variable over time, which explains why many Lean authorities often drive their clients into a “constant consulting” arrangement since the initial strategy (if any) offered to the client had no provision for variables such as different product mixes or changes to manufacturing volume.

plan of action

Close the Gap Discuss Philosophy but Implement technology

Demand Flow Technology (DFT) corrects this fault.  Unlike other provider’s philosophical solutions that are typically based upon observations, or applicable to a specific product, or “good for today only”, DFT is a mathematical design which can be applied to any industry, product or volume.   DFT line design can change product mix and volume every day without any line design changes.  Accommodate changing conditions.  DFT provides the tools, technology, and mathematics patented by John R. Costanza to optimize Flow and Pull.  Since DFT is a mathematical demand-driven method, you can adjust volume and mix to satisfy customer demand.  

DFT is a Complete Business Strategy

A Proven method with defined steps.  DFT provides the tools and techniques to enable your business to fully implement Flow and Pull manufacturing methods, and dominate your market

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