Lean Production Systems 4.0

The manufacture of the products planned in product development occurs in Production. With the aid of the latest technologies an integrated, networked production is mapped that enables the products and machines or workstations to be localized. In addition to localization, a communication between the objects is facilitated whereby transparent production processes can be mapped. Due to the integrated, networked production, products are in a position to inform the employee of the required customer-specific production steps or to autonomously guide themselves through the production. This therefore creates a decision basis founded on real-time capable data in the Cloud. This data is made available to the respective employees using role-based criteria so that they can make the best possible decisions using this data basis.

The significance of Lean Production Systems (LPS)

Production demonstrates the intersection between the two fundamental commercial processes of every company: The product development process and the job execution process. The development of Lean Production Systems occurs under the objective of minimizing waste in the production process and consistently aligning it with customer benefits. A LPS represents “a company-specific, methodical set of rules for the continuous orientation of all company processes toward the customer” and pursues the goal of systematically and continuously avoiding non-value creating activities.

In contrast to the lean production approach, which was instrumental in the success of the Toyota Production System, the new innovative value of lean production systems lays in the integration of efficiency-supporting methods, tools and best practices from conventional mass production and from approaches to the humanization of work. Based on the vision and mission, a LPS defines sub-goals on the uppermost level to achieve the company's goals. These target values can be influenced by different processes and sub-processes. The application of methods and tools to achieve the goals is carried out in the sense of various design principles. This continuous vertical cascade ensures that employees at the operational level are in a position to contribute to the achievement of corporate goals at the strategic level. This fundamental structure of a LPS is shown in the following illustration and is according to the VDI Directive 2870.

In traditional organizational structures, the achievement of goals is often hindered by function-oriented structures with many interfaces. The development of a process-oriented business model is therefore a necessary step for the successful implementation of a LPS. With a pronounced process orientation, interface losses within the company are avoided and each value added process is thus purposefully attuned toward fulfilling customer requirements. “A process is a recurring sequence of activities in a predecessor-successor-relationship, with defined start and end times, with the goal of transforming value-enhancing inputs into outputs.” In order to first generate the correct information and then accurately replay it in the process, all business processes and predecessor-successor relationships must be consistently defined and described. As a result of this process orientation, rules and procedures for the execution of manual, but in particular of fully automatic in the future, running processes or algorithms can be specified in the background.

Development toward Lean Production Systems 4.0

The term Lean Production Systems 4.0 describes the symbiosis arising from the methodical lean production systems approach and the technological approach to Industry 4.0. This linking essentially contains two advantages. With the increasing networking and development of new technologies in the context of Industry 4.0, new opportunities and potentials for the LPS methods and tools can be realized. Moreover, through a streamlined and efficient process design, a LPS is the basis for the successful implementation of Industry 4.0. Otherwise, one would simply digitize or automate an inefficient process. Additional potentials which go beyond the hitherto isolated consideration of these areas are realized from the linking of LPS methods and Industry 4.0 solutions. In addition to the traditional target values of quality, cost and time, LPS 4.0 particularly addresses the target values of flexibility, customer satisfaction and delivery time. Through the targeted implementation of Industry 4.0 in LPS, a comprehensive individualization of customer wishes at the prices of mass products is realizable.

The benefits of Lean Production Systems 4.0

Generally speaking, the implementation of Industry 4.0 promises significant potential in all areas of the production system. An estimation of the balance sheet effective optimization potential is provided in the following illustration. In order to enable these potentials through a meaningful, self-organized networking of humans, machines and objects in production, the supply of a contextual provision of the required information is necessary. The necessary lean and efficient production processes necessary for this are the subject matter of LPS. Therefore, the potentials shown in the illustration can only be achieved through the LPS 4.0 common set of rules.