The Pros & Cons of Lean Manufacturing

Several months ago, we discussed the pros and cons of implementing a just-in-time system to handle your business’s manufacturing needs. A common mistake is treating the JIT system and the lean system of manufacturing as the same process. Both systems revolve around eliminating waste in the production system. Where the JIT system focuses on production efficiency and cost reduction, lean manufacturing focuses on using efficiency to remove waste and adding something of value to the customer at each step of the process. Here’s a more in-depth look at the pros and cons of lean manufacturing.

Pros of Lean Manufacturing

  • Less raw materials and finished products stocked
  • Optimized workspace, supplies and tools
  • Staff can be more involved and motivated with the production process
    • Can also be cross-trained to keep staff numbers optimized and overhead costs low
  • Reduced lead times to finished products
  • Process is streamlined to sync manufacturing with customer expectations

Cons of Lean Manufacturing

  • A focus on streamlined processes leaves little margin for possible errors
  • Such a heavy emphasis on the present leaves no room to forecast changes and implement new strategies
  • Requires all employees to “buy in” to the lean methodology or production will suffer
  • Economies of scale are next to impossible due to lack of stocked spare materials
  • Requires a companywide overhaul of production systems in order to function properly

Lean manufacturing certainly has its benefits for facilities that strive for the perfect, customer-centric product that also eliminates waste. Whereas just-in-time focuses on identifying areas of waste, lean focuses on eliminating those areas for the process entirely. Lean is especially beneficial for small batch production facilities that focus on specialty consumer goods, while just-in-time has better applications in large-scale production of parts and components. Has your business successfully implemented lean manufacturing? Share your thoughts or stories with us in the comments below and be sure to visit us online at or call us at 1-877-249-1701 to learn more about our services. We’re proud to offer Surplus, Complete Repair and Maintenance on all types of Industrial Electronics, Servo Motors, AC and DC Motors, Hydraulics and Pneumatics. Please subscribe to our YouTube page and Like Us on Facebook! Thank you![/

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