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The 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing

In this month’s blog, we wanted to take a look at the principles of lean manufacturing, its origins and what it means for your business. In order to gain a competitive edge, many companies have adopted lean manufacturing (also known as lean thinking) as a means of success in today’s global market.

Lean manufacturing has enabled businesses to increase production, reduce costs, improve quality, and increase profits by following five key principles: identify value, map the value stream, create flow, establish pull and seek perfection.

The lean manufacturing principles were formed in Japan, when in an effort to improve sales and increase profit, Eiji Toyoda embarked on a journey to improve Toyota’s manufacturing processes. He created and instilled these 5 principles within Toyota’s working culture;

1) Identify Value

This step requires businesses to define what customers value and how their products or services meet those values. In this case, value requires:

  • Designing products to meet the needs of customers

  • Removing features that do not specifically meet those needs

By designing products to meet specific needs, businesses will eliminate wasteful steps that may have been required for unwanted features. Companies can then design products tailored for their customers.

2) Map the Value Stream

A value stream is the complete life-cycle of a product, which includes the product’s design, the customers’ use of the product and the disposal of the product. Once the value stream is mapped, it will be easier to find and minimise steps that do not add value.

3) Create flow

Efficient product flow requires items to move from production to shipping without interruption and can be achieved by strategically organizing the work floor. Every factor, from people and equipment to materials and shipping, must be taken into account to ensure products seamlessly move through the production process. A well-organised work floor will result in reduced production time, inventory size and material handling.

This is the principle that Magnacool can help you with directly. By reducing cooling time and freeing up space on the floor, you can streamline your production, decreasing wasted time and increasing profits.

4) Establish Pull

Closely related to creating flow, the fourth lean principle requires businesses to use a pull-based production system. A pull system 'pulls' a customer's order from the shipping department, which then prompts new items to be manufactured and signals that additional supplies need to be purchased. This avoids overproduction and storing large inventories.

Using a pull system, businesses will:

  • Increase output

  • Maximise usable workspace

  • Reduce inventories

  • Eliminate overproduction and underproduction

  • Eliminate errors caused by having too much Work In Progress

5) Seeking perfection

While seeking perfection may seem straightforward, it is often one of the most difficult principles to successfully apply in the workplace. Seeking perfection requires companies to continuously improve their practices and often requires a shift in the workplace culture.

If you think the Magnacooler could benefit your business and you'd like to talk to one of our friendly team, you can call us on +44 (0) 1159 659539 or email us at



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