4 The Lean Factory

4.1 Value Stream-oriented Layout Planning

The basic space planning concept for a lean factory observes a strict spatial and personnel-related separation of production processes and material flows on the shop floor which facilitates a concentration on value-creating processes. Producing employees are exclusively responsible for activities serving a value-creating alteration of the respective parts and products with the aid of production processes. Logistics employees on the other hand, are solely responsible for ensuring that the producing employees may concentrate on their value-adding tasks without ever running out of material or having to see to the removal of finished parts.

Accordingly, Design guideline 9 applies: Separation of production process and material flow – Value-added operations in production processes should be separated from the supporting logistics operations both with a view to space and to personnel.

According to the design rules of traditional factory planning, non-intersecting material flows must be created, i.e. a material flow-appropriate layout must be designed. Part of this task is already completed with the value stream depiction; the production process sequences are determined and the respective resources are clearly allocated.

Accordingly, Design guideline 10 applies: Flow-oriented ideal layout – The production equipment of a factory should be placed corresponding to their succession in the value stream and as closely together as possible.

4.2 Production Systems

A production system is a classification scheme which intrinsically and logically compiles the permissible methodological standards of a production. A production system defines how to produce. Not surprisingly in view of the protagonists, the Toyota production system as the main reference for all existing production methods is often depicted as a temple – comprising a base, pillars, and a roof.

The base of a production system consists of absolute reliability of all production processes and production procedures and is ensured by way of standardization of all work processes. The logistical pillar comprises methods for the avoidance of waste in production procedures, through even and balanced production. The technological pillar includes methods for the avoidance of waste in production processes through consistent improvement and intelligent automation. The roof consists of the three well-known essential goals of production: top quality, short lead times and minimal costs. The visualization of scheduled production procedures and production results by way of graphic illustrations depicting the production key figures adds transparency to the achievement of the goals.