Beyond Toyota

How to root out waste and pursue perfection The main focus of this case was to highlight the methodology commonly referred to as lean thinking. The five main aspects of lean thinking are presented for further presentation of this concept in order for businesses to focus on and enhance aspects of an organizational strategy that are deemed ” wasteful”. The “waste” encountered is usually due to an operational inefficiency where long processing times, long wrought times, and high inventory costs are some of the outcomes encountered when not on a lean diet.

This concept is fairly new and not fully understood as its implementation is time consuming and difficult, but its benefits are exceedingly great as illustrated by Toyota, the company pioneering the lean efforts. The five steps exemplify as well as define the route to strategic leanness or operational efficiency that add value to a customer in every step of the process effectively eliminating any waste accrued by the performance of non value adding steps.

This process is effectively illustrated by Lantern, a manufacturer of stretch wrapping machines that was able to implement lean techniques in its processes culminating in a successful transition in a changing environment. Lantern enjoyed the benefits of selling low quality goods at high prices for it held patents, but The loss of a patent violation suit lead Lantern to revolutionize its processes considered as “old thinking”.

The outdated Batch and queue processing system used by Lantern was found to be highly inefficient and wasteful at many points along the value chain creating wasted efforts adding large inventory housing costs, extended throughput times, and excessive energy usage. By implanting lean techniques, Lantern was able to innovate and strategically transform themselves into a continuously flowing operations system where every task was standardized cutting out the amount of time and effort an employee had to spend on any single step along the production chain.

This allowed every employee he ability to maintain and use every part of the system decreasing inefficiency greatly. The introduction of take time allowed the system to produce only what was needed and nothing further effectively eliminating the waste that accompanied full capacity production. The implementation culminated in efficiency increases in throughput time from 16 weeks to 14 hours, development time down from 4 years to one year, manufacturing space from 100 sq feet to 55 sq feet, and value of goods inventory 1. 9 million down from 2. 6 million.

As shown, lean techniques can greatly effect the operations flow of a company and further increase value for customers greatly affecting the success of a company. These techniques should be considered highly valuable for their use can surmount to effective processes as shown by its implementation in Toyota, Lantern, and Pratt & Whitney. These techniques should be in the forefront of manager’s minds in order to adapt to a changing world. The lean movement is still little understood, but efforts from companies such as the ones immersing themselves in the waste cutting methods.