Difference Between Traditional and Lean Manufacturing System


For years manufacturers have created products in anticipation of having a market for them. Operations have traditionally been driven by sales forecasts and firms tended to stockpile inventories in case they were needed. A key difference in Lean Manufacturing is that it is based on the concept that production can and should be driven by real customer demand. Instead of producing what you hope to sell, Lean Manufacturing can produce what your customer wants with shorter lead times. Instead of pushing product to market, it’s pulled there through a system that’s set up to quickly respond to customer demand.

Difference Between Traditional and Lean Manufacturing
Difference Between Traditional and Lean Manufacturing

Lean organizations are capable of producing high-quality products economically in lower volumes and bringing them to market faster than mass producers. A lean organization can make twice as much product with twice the quality and half the time and space, at half the cost, with a fraction of the normal work-in-process inventory. Lean management is about operating the most efficient and effective organization possible, with the least cost and zero waste.

Difference Between Traditional and Lean Manufacturing

Business StrategyProduct-out strategy focused on exploiting economies of scale of stable product designs and non-unique technologiesCustomer focused strategy focused on identifying and exploiting shifting competitive advantage.
Customer SatisfactionMakes what engineers want in large quantities at statistically acceptable quality levels; dispose of unused inventory at sale pricesMakes what customers want with zero defect, when they want it, and only in the quantities they order
LeadershipLeadership by executive commandLeadership by vision and broad participation
OrganizationHierarchical structures that encourage following orders and discourage the flow of vital information that highlights defects, operator errors, equipment abnormalities, and organizational deficiencies.Flat structures that encourage initiative and encourage the flow of vital information that highlights defects, operator errors, equipment abnormalities, and organizational deficiencies.
External RelationsBased on priceBased on long-term
Information ManagementInformation-weak
management based on abstract reports
management based on visual control systems maintained 
by all employees
CulturalCulture of loyalty and
obedience, subculture of alienation and labor strife
Harmonious culture of
involvement based on long-term development of human resources
ProductionLarge-scale machines,
functional layout, minimal skills, long production runs, massive inventories
Human-scale machines,
cell-type layout, multi-skilling, one-piece flow, zero inventories
Operational capabilityDumb tools that assume
an extreme division of labor, the following of orders, and no problem solving
Smart tools that assume
standardized work, strength in problem identification, hypothesis generation,
and experimentation
MaintenanceMaintenance by
maintenance specialists
Equipment management by
production, maintenance and engineering
Engineering“Isolated genius” model,
with little input from customers and little respect for production realities.
Team-based model, with
high input from customers and concurrent development of product and
production process design




























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Sachin Thorat

Sachin is a B-TECH graduate in Mechanical Engineering from a reputed Engineering college. Currently, he is working in the sheet metal industry as a designer. Additionally, he has interested in Product Design, Animation, and Project design. He also likes to write articles related to the mechanical engineering field and tries to motivate other mechanical engineering students by his innovative project ideas, design, models and videos.

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