The central and fundamental concept behind lean manufacturing is one that is based on lean thinking. Lean thinking requires that the value chain of the organization is subjected to assessment with the objective of identifying areas that do not add value. Once these areas are identified, they are remodeled in order to acquire value from them so that productivity can be increased as rapidly as possible. generally, this approach tends to eliminate intermediary steps and intermediate time brackets that are taking place within the value chain; leaving the organization in a form such that the only remaining elements in operation are the human resource, the machinery upon which the human resource is to operate and the very activities that are carried out on the machinery by the human resource in order to generate and provide value to the customers (Poppendieck 2002).
This usually calls for the empowerment of workers who are in the front-line of the hierarchy and interact directly with the working components and machinery of the organization. The measure is supplemented by a channelling of saved resources towards responding to consumer demands and requests in order to ensure that the optimization can be transmitted to the consumer’s end all the more effectively.
However, as mentioned above, modern day lean management does not pertain entirely towards traditional methods of lean thinking but seeks to go beyond lean thinking in its implementation and regulation. The discussion to follow, while focusing on the subject of the research, shall also attempt to highlight the relevance of the manner in which modern day lean management and lean manufacturing differ from traditional lean thinking as described in the context of the above paragraphs.
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