In about 1928, showing iron ore carriers in the northern end of the slip at the right and storage bins at the left of the slip. Further left are the blast furances, foundry, and power plant.
Figure 2.5 The Rouge plant, world’s largest single-company industrial concentration (Lewis, 1987, p172)
The fourth effect was that almost all of those Mass Production machines were only made for a single-purpose. As a result the changeover time of these machines was very long (Batchelor, 1994). As Miozzo and Walsh (2006) commented, the long changeover time was even taken as a fixed constraint. Thus, the machines were only used to make one type of product at a time to avoid the necessity of changeover (Womack et al., 1990). In this way, low product variety was another main characteristic of Mass Production (Kamrani and Nasr, 2008, p. p228). For example, Ford used to only mass-produce black Model-Ts in its Highland Park Plant (Leseure, 2002) (Figure 2.6).
On an assembly-line, every car was made with exactly the same parts. Each car was not made special or different
Figure 2.6 The black Model-Ts (Rausch, 2007, p18)
As fifth effect, in order to maximise the use of the expensive machines, most mass- produced products were made-to-stock, which increased costs (Slack et al., 2007). For instace, with the purpose of taking benefits from the large economies of scale and scope (Hobbs, 2004), Ford mass-produced its cars to meet the needs of the vast market in the 20th Century, but it ended up with massive waste in overproduction (Whaples and Betts, 1995; Murman et al., 2002, pp., p88; Datta, 2004).
Thus, the drawbacks of Mass Production highlighted the necessity for improvements which could optimize the balance between machines and workforce skills. What was needed was a more cost-effective production system which had the flexibility to produce a wide variety of products, with high quality, at low cost (Ohno, 1988a, pp., xiii).
The improvement in Lean Production
The latest manufacturing system, the Toyota Production System (or later Lean Production, as coined by Krafcit, 1988), was being developed in Japan from the 1940s (Murman et al., 2002; Hobbs, 2004; Toshiko and Shook, 2007). It was basically used to make products to meet the Japanese small-lot production pattern (Ohno, 1988a) and “was a direct challenge to the older paradigms” (Lillrank, 1995, p973).
Lean Production “combines the advantages of Craft Production and Mass Production” (Womack et al., 1990, p13) and is considered to be another revolution in productivity in manufacturing industry (Slack et al., 2001; Holweg, 2007). Lean Production has the ability to achieve machine and workforce improvements (Shingo and Bodek, 1988; Yoneyama, 2007; Takeuchi et al., 2008). It primarily relies on a multi-skilled and highly experienced workforce to improve machinery to make a variety of products at high speed, with high quality, and most importantly, reducing the waste of overproduction (Denton, 1995).
Lean Production “offers significant advantages over other production methods, dramatic improvements in productivity and quality that no other system can match” (Scarbrough and Terry, 1998, p224). Lean Production has therefore, gained wide recognition for the advantages that it offers compared to Mass Production and Craft
Production (Salvendy, 2001; Bicheno, 2004). The following Table 2.1 sums up the characteristics of the three types of production systems.
Craft Production Mass Production Lean Production
Focus Task Product, Result Customer, Process
Skill level High skilled Low skilled Multi-skilled
Overall aim Mastery of craft Reduce cost and increase
efficiency Eliminate waste and add
Operations Single items Batch and queue Synchronised flow and pull
Tools required General purpose Dedicated General purpose
Teamwork Moderate Low High
Production plan Make-to-order Made-to-stock
Defect rate Various High Low
Quality check Integration (part of the craft) Inspection (a second stage,
after production) Prevention (built in by
design and methods)
Warehouse size No / very small Very large No / small
Buffers Large Large No / very small
Production Volume High variety low quantity Low variety high quantity High variety high quantity
Business strategy Customisation Economies of scale and
automation Flexibility and adaptability
Improvement Master-driven continuous
improvement Expert-, result-driven
periodic improvement Workforce-, process-driven
Table 2.1 The characteristic comparison of each production system in the automotive industry (Krafcit, 1988; Womack et al., 1990; Evans, 1993; Taylor and Brunt, 2001; Murman et al., 2002)
Lean Production system is derived mostly from Toyota which is widely known as the Toyota Production System (TPS) (Emiliani, 2006). It is implemented in the automotive industry (Shingo, 1989) to achieve ‘Lean’ in everything (Krafcit, 1989) with an “absolute minimum” use of warehouse for storage, “bufferless assembly lines”, “utility workers” and a “tiny” repair area (Krafcit, 1988, p45).
The definition of Lean Production
The term Lean Production was initially adopted by the International Motor Vehicle programme (IMVP) in 1979 (Krafcit, 1988; Womack et al., 1990). The IMVP is the oldest and largest international research consortiums from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that intended to understand the challenges facing the global automotive industry (Krafcit, 1988; Lewis, 2000; IMVP, 2008). In the later part of 1980s, the IMVP published two classic books in this field: The Machine that Changed the World (Womack et al., 1990) and Lean Thinking (Womack and Jones, 1996) to compare the automotive industry in Japan and the West.
Over the years, the term ‘Lean Production’ or just ‘Lean’ has become more widely cited and it has been defined differently (Lewis, 2000; Shah and Ward, 2007):
“Lean Production means moving towards the elimination of all waste in order to develop an operation that is faster, more dependable, produces higher-quality products and services and, above all, operates at low cost” (Slack et al., 2007, p466).
Other definitions of Lean Production focuses on its philosophy of production:
“Lean Production is a philosophy of production that emphasizes the minimization of the amount of all the resources (including time) used in the various activities of the enterprise. It involves identifying and eliminating non-value-adding activities in design, production, supply chain management, and dealing with the customers.” (APICS Dictionary 9th Edition, 1998, p49)
The current research adopted the definitions of Lean Production which emphasised continuous improvement and the elimination of waste. Krafcit (1988), a researcher in MIT for the IMVP programme, articulated the following definition:
“This TPS plant has been in the midst of a sustained, corporate-led drive to continuously improve its efficiency, to reduce costs in every facet of the operation, and to relentlessly improve quality.” (Krafcit, 1988, p41)
The definition given by Handyside (1997) in a major study of Lean Manufacturing shop floor:
“True lean manufacturing is simply concerned with the constant and never-ending elimination of waste” (Handyside, 1997, p163).
A more recent definition given by Radnor et al. (2012):
“Lean as a management practice based on the philosophy of continuously improving processes by either increasing customer value or reducing non-value adding activities (muda), process variation (mura), and poor work conditions (muri)”(Radnor et al., 2012, p365).
The development of Lean Production
Lean Production started in Japan and was developed initially in the automotive industry (Womack et al., 1990; Womack and Jones, 1996; Jones, 2001). It was particularly, pioneered and exemplified by Toyota (Hines et al., 2004), and thus it has been given the name: Toyota Production System (or TPS) (Shingo, 1990; Toyota, 1995).
The TPS remained unknown outside Toyota till the late 1970s, since it was never intended for adoption beyond Toyota in the first place (Schonberger, 1982b; Emiliani, 2006; Schonberger, 2006). Bodek (2004, p28) concluded that “the Toyota Production System had given Toyota a great competitive advantage and they did not want to share this information with other automotive companies”. This was corroborated by Sako (2004) who concluded that the TPS was kept as a secret within Toyota until they decided to share it with their suppliers in the 1970s. Schonberger (1982b) also revealed that there were only a few journal articles describing the TPS in the late 1970s. Particularly in the West, no English paper was published that mentioned the TPS or JIT until 1977 (i.e., Ashburn, 1977; Sugimori et al., 1977). Taylor and Brunt (2001, p20) reiterated the point and reported that “in the early 1970s, the TPS was documented for the first time, though it took another decade before these principles were published in books and articles”.
In the beginning of 1980s, many Western academics started studying Toyota’s success and taking note of the benefits of their seemingly revolutionary production system (e.g., Hayes, 1981; Schonberger, 1982a; Schonberger, 1982b; Schonberger and Gilbert, 1983; Cusumano, 1988). To be precise, according to The Asian Productivity Organization (2013), two of these academics were James Womack of the MIT and Daniel Jones of the University of Cardiff in Wales. It was these authors who were widely credited for adopting the term ‘Lean Manufacturing/Lean Production’ from Krafcit (1988) to describe the TPS to the West (Womack et al., 1990; Womack and Jones, 1996).
In the 1990s, the classic book The Machine that Changed the World was published (Womack et al., 1990). It adopted the term ‘Lean Manufacturing/Lean Production’ to describe the TPS (Krafcit, 1988; Engström et al., 1996; Fujimoto and Takeishi, 2001). This book combined disjointed Lean principles together and introduced them in a systematic fashion (Karlsson and Ahlstrom, 1996). Today, describing the TPS as Lean Production is widely accepted and both names have been used interchangeably in many recent publications (e.g., Okino, 1995; Rinehart et al., 1997; Fujimoto and Takeishi, 2001; Liker, 2004; Liker and Meier, 2006; Schonberger, 2006; Dennis and Shook, 2007; Pil and Fujimoto, 2007).
The philosophy of Lean Production
Lean Production is a management philosophy (Womack et al., 1990; Womack and Jones, 1996; Bicheno, 2004). “Lean Production is ‘Lean’ because it uses less of everything compared with Mass Manufacturing – half the human effort in the factory, half the manufacturing space, half the investment in tools, half the engineering hours to develop a new production in half the time” (Womack et al., 1990, p13).
Figure 2.7 The different Lean tools and techniques, adopted from Feld (2001, p5)
Lean Production is made of many tools and techniques for minimising the amount of all resources applied in various activities (Fujimoto and Takeishi, 2001; Scaffede, 2002; Pavnaskar et al., 2003; Shah and Ward, 2003; Liker, 2004; Morgan and Liker, 2006) (e.g., Figure 2.7). These include product design (e.g., product design for simplification and error-proofing) (Shingo, 1986; Got? and Odagiri, 1997) and manufacturing (e.g., automation with human touch and single-minute exchange of die) (Shingo and Dillon, 1985), supply chain management (e.g., just-in-time delivery) (Turnbull et al., 1989; Turnbull et al., 1992; Sako, 2004), shop floor management/continuous improvement (e.g., 5S practice, visual management, Kaizen, etc.) (Handyside, 1997; Imai, 1997), customer and supplier focus (e.g., quality mapping to increase customer value, modular sourcing, supplier association, supplier collaborations, etc.) (Hines and Rich, 1997; Howard, 2005; Schonberger, 2006), and employing multi-skilled workers and cross- functional teams (Morris et al., 1998; Delbridge et al., 2000).
Figure 2.8 The eight disciplines of the Lean enterprise model (Morgan and Liker, 2006)