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Lean Manufacturing

What is Lean Manufacturing?  Lean Manufacturing is a philosophy used to do more with less.  Lean Manufacturing focuses on finding and driving out waste and other non-value adding activities within the manufacturing processes.  Lean Manufacturing or “Lean” is the phrase coined to summarize Japanese manufacturing techniques, more specifically, the Toyota Production System.

Lean Manufacturing is not one thing, but rather a set of tools and techniques utilized to systematically root out the 7 Deadly Wastes of overproduction, defects, excess transportation, waiting, excess inventory, excess motion, and excess processing.  The tools and techniques utilized include:

The 5S System

A systematic approach to organizational cleanliness. It is the foundational base for quality, safety, productivity and employee involvement in all areas of a company. The 5 S System promotes continuous improvement in the manufacturing environment and empowers employees to take a proactive approach to challenges encountered in their daily work activities. Each element of the 5S System is thoroughly examined for specific application to a variation of work place issues. Intensive “hands on” approach is utilized to complement classroom instruction.

Waste Elimination

This course primarily focuses on the technique of “Learning to See” the different types of wastes found in a manufacturing environment. This course provides insights on the common types of wastes found in manufacturing and provides the class participants an opportunity to apply course content to projects in their working environments. Application or simplification techniques, review of push vs. pull production strategies, and one piece flow using standardized data collection systems.

Value Stream Mapping

This course will provide students with the knowledge necessary to perform a value stream mapping/analysis (all activities from beginning to end required to produce a product). This has both in-class and hands-on application.

Set Up Time Reduction

This course primarily focuses on the concepts and theories of (SMED) Single Minute Exchange of Dies. Using a hands-on approach students use video tapes of their own production set-ups to apply the concepts of SMED to implement set-up time reduction improvements.

Cycle Time Reduction

This course addresses practical insights on how to reduce the cycle time of a work process. It is built around five key cycle time reduction strategies that key on the importance of identifying and eliminating time-consuming process waste, providing the right resources at the right place and time, creating continuous work flow and the importance of cross-functional work teams.

Mistake Proofing/Poka-Yoke

This course addresses practical insights in the concepts of Poke-Yoke (Mistake Proofing) techniques. The course acquaints the participants with sources of faulty products and processes. Defect detection and standardization of operational procedures and sequences is stressed. These techniques can eliminate waste related to quality defects-rework, scrap, and equipment downtime. This approach supports a company’s competitiveness and makes production and assembly work easier.

Training Within Industry (TWI)

Often considered the missing piece of “Lean” in American factories, TWI focuses on the developing supervisory skills through the “J” Programs; Job Instruction (JI), Job Methods, and Job Relations (JR).  These  are time tested and proven methods that make TWI truly unique and highly effective.  The participants of this course will learn and apply the “J” programs through classroom instruction and project creation.

Cellular Manufacturing

This course will provide an introduction to Cellular Manufacturing Principles and Design.  This course will provide information on such topic as:  Introduction to Cellular Manufacturing, Continuous Improvement, Teambuilding, Theory of Constraints, Inventory Control, Cell Layout, Time and Motion Study, Setup Time Reduction, as well as in-class projects related to these topics.


This course focuses on basics of the Kanban system allowing your organization to visually track and manage jobs and inventory.  Kanban is a simple scheduling system that uses cards or tickets as visual signals to manage and control the flow and production of materials.  In a lean environment, Kanban is a mechanism for managing a “pull” production system.  The kanban concept will reduce inventory, eliminate stock-outs, and slash overhead allowing your organization to compete and react more quickly to change.

Contact Information

  • Kirsten Michalke
  • Director of Workforce Development
  • (218) 683-8647