A brief account of the advantages and challenges in adopting and implementing Lean is illustrated. Overall, the paper draws information based on existing literature and research related to Lean manufacturing.
According to Hill (cited by Brown, p.7), ‘The production/operations management (POM) task is concerned with the transformation process which takes inputs and converts them into outputs, together with the various support functions closely associated with this basic task.’ Such transformation processes are mainly applied to materials, customers and information. Brown (p.8) describes that Production Management encompasses the most vital activities of production, beginning from and including, planning and design, production processes of goods and services, and also effective integration of marketing, finance, human resources management and strategy in order to enable a business to enter and compete with both new and existing markets. One important aspect of improving efficiency is elimination of waste and/or non-value-adding activities; this not only improves efficiency by saving costs, it also saves immense time and labor. The ‘Lean Methodology’ constitutes this aspect of production management, performed through a set of principles and methodologies (Keller, p.262).
Lean methodology/manufacturing is a Japanese invention, and has been widely accepted in most of the manufacturing industries throughout the world. Its application in the service industry emerged later. Although its main focus is improvement of efficiency, different organizations adopt distinct approaches within lean system to achieve this. Although Lean methodology focuses on elimination of wastes, the reference to ‘waste’ differs in every manufacturing unit and industry type. Hence, adopting a uniform approach may not be feasible in all situations. In order to meet different needs of different industries, various lean systems or