Lean Production

Lean Production Replaced Mass Production at Toyota

As Mass Production replaced Craft Manufacturing, Lean Production replaces Mass Production. Mass Production is laden with excess inventory, Lean Production only builds for a customer. Lean Production focuses on system production, and Mass Production focuses on departmental production. Lean Production constantly removes defects, Mass Production passes defects through the system. Mass Production is more expensive to operate than Lean Production.

Lean Production Builds for a Customer

Above all, Lean Production uses a Pull System. Consequently, the Pull System initiates with a customer order. This creates a Kanban Card that passes through the system, contains order configuration information, and is ready for the downstream process. A customer order stimulates Lean Production into action.

System Production

A system produces a product or a service. Lean Production is a system production system. Mass Production is a department production system. Mass Production aggregates all the departments into producing a product or service but each department operates independently.


Consequently, Lean Production uses every individual on the assembly line as a quality inspector. Ideally, if the defect is caused by the upstream process, the downstream process will catch it. Mass Production passes defects through until they may or may not be detected by a quality inspector. Assembly line employees are best positioned to detect a defect, so why pay for quality inspectors?

Manufacturing Cost Reduction

Lastly, a summary of the benefits of Lean Production:

  • Waste reduction by 80%
  • Production cost reduction by 50%
  • Manufacturing cycle times decreased by 50%
  • Labor reduction by 50% while maintaining or increasing throughput
  • Inventory reduction by 80% while increasing customer service levels
  • Capacity in current facilities increase by 50%
  • Higher quality
  • Subsequently, higher profits
  • As a result, higher system flexibility in reacting to changes in requirements improved
  • More strategic focus Improved cash flow through increasing shipping and billing frequencies

Reference: Mária Mičietová, 2011 University of Žilina, The Faculty of Operation and Economics of Transport and
Communications, Department of Road and Urban Transport, Univerzitná 1, 010 26 Žilina, Slovakia,

Video of Building Your Lean Production System

In conclusion

Every System using Mass Production is significantly lagging behind Lean Production Systems. Costs are higher, defects are higher, and cycle times are higher in Mass Production. I recommend that every system that produces a product or service investigate the advantages of Lean Production URL: (Advantages of Lean Production Article).