Lean Manufacturing Overview 101

Lean Manufacturing Overview provides an introduction to the principles and terminology of lean strategies, including a discussion of the seven forms of waste, the definition of value-added, the difference between push and pull systems, and the importance of continuous improvement. This class also highlights other quality concepts, such as single minute exchange of dies (SMED), inventory reduction, and Five S.

Lean manufacturing approaches help companies optimize their processes through organization and waste reduction. Although change can be a challenge, more efficient, streamlined processes will ultimately lead to improved customer satisfaction. This class outlines the foundational concepts and vocabulary that every practitioner needs when beginning, or continuing, a lean initiative.

  • Difficulty Beginner

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 17

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • What is Lean Manufacturing?
  • What is Waste?
  • Types of Waste
  • Lean Manufacturing Review
  • High-Volume and Multiple Batch Lean Companies
  • Reduction of Process Variation
  • Product Changeover
  • Inventory Reduction
  • Product Flow
  • Product Flow and Cycle Time
  • Pull Systems
  • Cells
  • Error Detection
  • Pull Systems and Error Detection Review
  • Implementing Lean Principles
  • The Five S Approach
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Define lean manufacturing.
  • Define waste in terms of lean manufacturing.
  • Identify common types of waste.
  • Describe goals for high-volume and multiple batch lean companies.
  • Identify sources of process variation.
  • Describe the importance of reducing product changeover times.
  • Describe the importance of reducing inventory.
  • Describe how lean companies achieve continuous product flow.
  • Describe how lean companies achieve continuous product flow.
  • Describe a pull system.
  • Describe a cell.
  • Distinguish between inspection and error detection.
  • Describe the necessity of employee involvement.
  • List the activities of the Five S Approach.
  • Describe the importance of continuous improvement.
Vocabulary Term


A visual management tool that highlights the status of operations in an area and that signals whenever an abnormality occurs. Andon lights can be used as error proofing devices.


A specific number of the same part that moves through the production cycle. Small batch manufacturers produce a variety of different products but in low volume.


An arrangement of machines, tooling, materials, and operators structured around the design of similar products. Cells encourage smooth product flows and use space efficiently.

continuous improvement

The belief that an organization must constantly measure the effectiveness of its processes and strive to meet more difficult objectives to satisfy customers. Continuous improvement is a guiding principle in lean manufacturing.

cycle time

The actual time it takes to perform a task and forward it to the next step. One major goal of lean manufacturing is to match cycle time to the rate of customer demand.

error detection

The inspection of a part before it has been completed to determine if it conforms to specifications. Error detection discovers errors after they have occurred.

error proofing devices

Any tool or process used to reduce or eliminate errors from a manufacturing process. Error devices might use andon lights or other means to signal that a problem has occurred.

Five S Approach

A targeted list of activities that promotes organization and efficiency within a workspace. The Five S terms are sort, set in order, sweep, standardize, and sustain.


The examination of a part to determine if it conforms to specifications. Inspection traditionally follows the completion of a part.


The storage of raw material, in-process parts, and completed, manufactured products. In lean manufacturing, excess inventory is considered waste.


A Japanese word meaning "card signal." It represents any visual method used to show the need for parts or products to be moved or produced in a lean system.

lead times

The time spent between the original customer order for a particular product and its final delivery to the customer. Manufacturers try to reduce lead time to improve customer satisfaction.

lean manufacturing

An approach to manufacturing that seeks to reduce the cycle time of processes, increase flexibility, and improve quality. Lean approaches help to eliminate waste in all its forms.

material handling

The strategy and devices used to move and store materials during the production cycle. Transferring materials, packaging, and palletizing are examples of material handling.


A series of activities required to complete a product or provide a service to a customer. Processes can include material handling, machining, inspecting, and other activities.

product changeover

The time it takes to tear down the setup for the current product type, prepare for next product type, and successfully produce the first good part. Manufacturers use different strategies to reduce product changeover time.

product changeovers

The time it takes to tear down the setup for the current product type, prepare for next product type, and successfully produce the first good part. Manufacturers use different strategies to reduce product changeover time.

product flow

The movement of products within the facility during each stage of the product's manufacturing process. Lean manufacturing seeks to streamline product flow.

pull system

A production system in which components are not delivered to machines until they are needed. Pull systems are characterized by smaller batches, quick responses to customer demand, and smooth product flow.


Any material not used to create the final part. During most machining operations, scrap appears in the form of chips.

single minute exchange of dies

SMED. A theory of setup reduction that strives to reduce the time it takes to perform product changeover. SMED approaches strive to reduce changeover time to under ten minutes.


A real or perceived quality that satisfies the needs and wants of a customer. Value includes the features of a product as well as other qualities associated with the product.


Any deviation from what is normal and consistent. In manufacturing, variation from what is normal can signal that an error has occurred.


Any thing or process that does not add value to a product. Scrap is the most common form of waste.