Advantages of Lean production strategy :
Lean productions, if implemented correctly, possess many advantage which can give the companies’ productivity major boost. In return, they will obtain a major competitive advantage over traditional process.
Because lean manufacturing utilizes the JIT technique, inventory storage management is decreased with its costs. Another policy that is linked to JIT is the pull strategy. This gives the manufacturer the ability to manufacture the products to the customer likes and save cost of holding inventory till sale and waste (Lansbur, Russell, 2006).
Lean production gained another major boost in the 21st century where growing alternate taste and custom orders gained pace. Growing demand gave lean producers the ability to cater much easily compared to ford style mass production system.
Disadvantages/ Limitation of Lean production strategy:
Lean production has its own criticism and weakness such as the unlimited working hours. That is, managers have full control over working hours which means that if production quotas are not met then workers have to work for extra time regardless of what was the cause of this delay. “Japan Automobile Workers, has become increasingly critical of the long working hours, which seem to be virtually impossible to cut in the system of lean production, in spite of all its productivity strides” (Berggren. C, 2005). This causes stress and sense of urgency that is felt by workers and can eventually lead to social problems.
Secondly, the working environment of lean production involves doing repetitive task which can lead to health and safety problems, especially if combined with long working hours and intense pace. For example in japan, there have been reports of many cumulative trauma disorders (CTD) or repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Also in a US Mazda transplant, there has been reports of an “unusually high incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome, damage to nerves and tendons in the hands and wrists” (Berggren, C, 2005).
Finally, many critics and employees feel that lean forces people to change rather than allow them to improve on their own. Moreover, lean pushes people out of their comfort zone in the name of eliminating waste and adding value; however, they start to have feelings of discomfort and stress. (stormy brain hubpage, 2008). For example, Many Chinese companies followed the footsteps of Japanese companies, however very few were able to imitate them. This was largely due to their different corporate structure and employee mentality. Chinese workers struggled to cope with lean production techniques. This was because Chinese employees embrace a very resistant work culture.
© Mahmudul Hasan