Manufacturers around the globe have always searched for efficiency strategies that help reduce costs, improve output establish competitive position, and increase market share.
Early mass production manufacturing methods common before World War II shifted afterwards to the results-oriented, output-focused, production systems that control most of today’s manufacturing businesses.
Japanese manufacturers re-building after the Second World War were facing diminished human, material, and financial resources. These circumstances led to the development of new, lower cost, manufacturing practices.
Manufacturers such as the Toyota Motor developed a disciplined, process-focused production system now known as the “Lean Production.” The objective of this system was to minimise the consumption of resources that added no value to a product.
The “Lean Manufacturing” concept was popularised in large part by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology study of the movement from mass production toward production as described in The Machine That Changed the World, (Womack, Jones & Roos, 1990). This book described the important elements accounting for superior performance as Lean production. The term “Lean” was used because such business methods used less human effort, capital investment, floor space, materials, and time in all aspects of operations.
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