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 The method of lean manufacturing originally created for businesses dealing with serial

Production domains are also used in other types of production. However, the procedure of lean

production was not designed for these types of businesses; they are utilized only partially. The papers focus on the application of methods of lean concept in companies which are dealing with mass production and their options of exchange for other methods in the event of disagreement. The basis of the article is a list of lean methods with its description and its utilization in practice. The questionnaire was utilized to identify information from the practice. Based on this survey were identified the critical methods that are no longer appropriate for companies dealing with mass production. However, there are alternative methods of describing the problem. It is possible to say that companies are trying to get closer to their goal by modification of the basic concepts. Besides, the concept of Lean Enterprise serves as a standard.

Key words

lean production, mass production, alternative methods, and lean methods.


Besides, the past or recent times, the aim of production businesses was always to produce goods with low costs and high profit. Economic crisis showed that it is necessary to focus on reducing costs. Hiding problems of production lines by high stocks is no more solution in mass production. Corporate management has to focus on revealing and solving problems. The portfolio of solutions of these problems is globally large. It consists of complex systems of e.g. lean manufacturing, six sigmas, TOC (Theory of Constraints) or elder approaches through simple methods. In this article, we will focus on the application of lean methods in mass production and their modification with utilizing knowledge obtained from a questionnaire survey. The modification is necessary because it is not primarily designed for mass production. This concept deals with restricting all activities to those that add value to the customer. When the conditions are ideal, the concept is very good and utilization is possible 1 Ing. Roman Bedn''r - Institute of Industrial Engineering, Management, and Quality, Faculty of Materials Science and Technology, Slovak University of Technology, Paul''nska 16, 917 24 Trnava, Slovak Republic, [email protected] 10 in a current production system. In the non-ideal world, many conditions limit the applicability of this concept. The main condition is to utilize well-repeated production with no major changes in orders12 Useful method for application to mass production

The following sections briefly describe each method and its validity and utilization in

mass production.


This is a way of organizing the work based on common participation, common cooperation and responsibility of all the team members. The research showed that method of teamwork is one of the most common in mass production. Benefits in the area such as increasing production and an application of the idea 'more people, more inspiration' are appreciable. Application of teamwork decreases the risk of making wrong decisions; it helps to strengthen interpersonal relationships; supports competition between individual teams and brings many other benefits, which are undeniable. Teamwork has disadvantages, too. Some of them are: we cannot utilize the management methods based on commands; shared responsibility can have the consequence of lower personal responsibility; the work can be cumbersome; if the team has too many members, there are higher demands on time than the individual. Opposite of teamwork is the classical management of employees, which can be centralized or decentralized. In mass production, both types of management can be utilized. In the long term, the utilization of teamwork seems to be more valuable especially in improving the corporate culture. However, this is related to the investment in education and training courses, which can be considered as the biggest disadvantage


 The method is designed to capture the improvement from all the corporate employees. This method is not designed only for the manufacturing process, but it is designed also for every process where it will be implemented. Its principle is to process every suggestion of improvement. The main part is to analyze the impact of the change to the corporation. Only after this step, we are enabled to apply the change. The changes are captured anonymously without any claim on reward or directly from the employee. The aim of application of this method in a corporation is to transfer the effect of the change on employees and motivate them to search for another possible improvement. The effort of this method is to implement big and also small changes and after this, we are able to achieve more productive corporation. There is a traditional improvement opposite the KAIZEN. In traditional improvement, the impact of the innovations is gradually disappearing. Figure 2 shows us a gradual improvement by small steps after big innovations, instead of loss of performance without the gradual improvement (2). Corporations dealing with mass production do not have any restrictions for application of the KAIZEN method.12

                                      Fig 2 Kaizen improvement

Visual management

 It is possible to share important information through visual management. Shared information can be static or dynamic. The benefit is that they are permanently available, but the disadvantage of static information is that they can be outdated. Of course, not all of the commands can be mediated through visual management. Through visual management, we can have information about positioning the elements of production, the number of operating units, operating aisles, transit route, restriction of movement of the employees, operating performance, the aim of the corporation, operating plan, and production process. The benefits of this kind of management are: increase the productivity, clarification of material flows, clarification of information flows, increase of work safety, decrease of accidents and reduction of stock. The best example of utilization of visual management in mass production is making the minimum, insured and maximum number of stocks.


The name of the method is a short cut for five steps that help us to achieve clean workplace, which is adapted only to work. It seems that the tidiness is a matter of every single employee, but it is not like that. Clean and to work, adapted workplace enables the worker to utilize the time, which he spends on searching for the tools and equipment. Saving the time is not the only benefit. Another benefit after application of this method is faster fault detection of the devices; increasing the workplace; increasing the stocks in the workplace and also improvement of the corporate culture. Utilize of this method is suitable in all areas of the corporation. 5S method consists in the gradual implementation of these five steps: 1. removing all the unnecessary elements from the workplace, 2. positioning necessary elements to a good reachable place, 3. cleaning the workplace and defining the areas of cleaning, 4. standardizing of the first three steps, 5. adherence to established standards and signing the confirmation of work which was done. The 5S is not restricted by conditions in mass production. It is possible to utilize the method in production and administration processes.


 This method is utilized to maintain the constant working pace without unexpected failures. Although the mass production characterized by the production of stock, and thus the 13 variation in the consumption of products is ready, the shutdown of production due to unexpected disturbances may take some time. The TPM program consists of six areas: a program of autonomous maintenance of equipment, a program of planned maintenance, a program of education and training, a planning program for new equipment and units, maintenance system and information system, program of increasing of OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). The TPM method influences the production processes indirectly by maintaining the system in operation without unexpected downtime. TPM has a supportive character on production processes, so the application without any restrictions is possible also in mass production.

Bottlenecks management

 Utilize principles of TOC (Theory of Constraints). In the field of mass production is this method crucial. Removing bottlenecks and consequent increase in the flow line is the main objective of bottlenecks management. The traditional idea of the full utilization of all resources is not productive in this case. It is necessary to identify with the fact that the machines, which are a bottleneck, must be the most utilized of capacity, and other devices must adapt production to the needs of bottlenecks, they cannot work otherwise. It is an evident division of the production facilities, which are bottleneck facilities and are not bottleneck. The aims of TOC are maximizing flow, minimizing stocks and minimizing operating costs. These objectives can be achieved by cycles of activities: 1 Identify bottleneck, 2 maximum utilize of a bottleneck, 3 Customize the whole performance by the bottleneck, 4 remove the current bottleneck, 5 back to point # 1. In accordance with the management of bottlenecks, it is necessary to invest resources in removing the bottleneck. A Less useful method for application to mass production. In the next part of this article, we will deal with methods, which have


 Apply pull approach to managing the material flow. Its application is less applicable in companies dealing with mass production. The main reason is the gradual entry of work orders away from the final operation. Mass production is characterized by the production lines that are already configured for an optimum run, it is not necessary to control the flow through the KANBAN. Push management system, in this case, is preferable especially in situations where it is necessary to use higher among stocks. It is mainly a single piece flow in KANBAN system, which limits the utilization of the method in mass production (3).

 Production cells

 Material flow of production cells has a characteristic shape as a letter U or C. The requirements for successful application production cells are one-piece flow, and variation of production, and multi-machine handling. The conditions of mass production are not adapted for the application of this method, similar to the method of KANBAN. Selection of conditions for application of production cells which are not in mass production: one-piece flow, variant production small production cells with the shape as a letter U or C.

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