The creation of the lean methodology was necessary after the end of World War Two when there was a shortage of manpower for the production of civilian goods. Just as all wars do, there was a great amount of life lost. To help compensate for this low allowable allowance of manpower, the project managers in the Far East had to devise a new approach to getting their factories working so they could once again turn a profit.
The basic concept of the lean methodology is simple. It is the reduction of all waste from a process so only the components that contribute in a positive manner towards the deliverable and its staying on its production schedule are allowed to remain in place. One of the hardest parts of developing this methodology is deciding just what makes a positive contribution to the deliverable and what really is waste.
What most realize is that when deploying the lean methodology, it is a continuous process towards the improvement of all processes involved in the planning and production of a deliverable for the global market place. This process should involve every level of management to help make the final decisions. It will also be necessary to involve the entire project team. It is their hands on experience with the project that can pinpoint areas where improvements can be made. These small contributions from the project team have an accumulative effect that will make the difference in just how successful your project is at cutting and eliminating waste from the project.
One of the newest additions to the lean methodology is the “just in time” supply network. By bringing in the required resources necessary for your project as they are needed, the elimination of storage for them has been eliminated. This saves both money and space in providing a warehouse for the resources just to sit in waiting to be used.
The lean methodology has expanded far beyond its intended purpose of dealing with a manpower shortage. Today most manufactures have implemented it to some extent to best fit their needs. This increases the profitability of every project it is used in when implemented correctly.