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Lean Manufacturing 101

Lean Manufacturing, a concept designed to minimize waste and enhance productivity, revolves around five key principles: value, value stream, flow, pull, and perfection. At Wasco, we understand the value of lean manufacturing, so you can feel confident in the products we supply. As you search for a pressure or vacuum switch, our responsive team is committed to supplying you with the perfect pressure sensor for your unique system.

The foundation of lean manufacturing lies in these five principles:

lean manufacturing principles graphic

  1. Value: Identifying and defining the true value as perceived by the customer. Determine what aspects of the product and customer-seller interaction add value to the customer. Does special packaging add value to the customer, or is it only for looks?

  2. Value Stream: Mapping the entire process to determine the value-added steps and eliminate non-value-added activities. Create a visual representation of the value stream to help your team visualize what gives your product value.

  3. Flow: Establishing a smooth and consistent flow of processes, ensuring efficiency and minimizing disruptions. Where do most process errors occur? At which production step do bottlenecks or shortages appear?

  4. Pull: Adopting a pull-based inventory system that only produces or orders items as needed, reducing waste and excess inventory.

  5. Perfection: Striving for continuous improvement and perfection, acknowledging that there is always room for enhancement. Accurate metrics enable the pursuit of perfection. Review metrics regularly.

Two fundamental principles further guide our approach: Kaizen and 5S.

organizing files on computer

Kaizen, derived from the Japanese words for "good change" or "improvement," encourages constant improvement involving all employees and processes. Rather than striving for perfection, Kaizen emphasizes adaptive change, continuous improvement, and a mindset focused on positive, incremental adjustments. We’ve adopted a mantra at Wasco to help with our Kaizen initiative: Fix What Bugs You. Every team member is encouraged to identify areas of friction and present solutions to his manager. The goal of Kaizen is not speed; it is smooth, high-quality production. One of our operating principles is “Do it right the first time”. We focus on the areas that create manufacturing inefficiencies instead of trying to fix everything at once. Small solutions that stick over time have a better compounding effect than large-scale renovations of processes.

organized tools

5S, standing for sort, straighten, sweep, standardize, and sustain, is a technique for maintaining organization, cleanliness, and precision in the manufacturing area. At Wasco, we concentrate on a simplified version of 5S, known as 3S. The first step, sort, means that we routinely review our workspaces and divide our materials and tools using a methodology that is applicable to the specific role. In the second step, sweep, we thoroughly clean our workspaces and ensure that we tackle the source of the dirtiness. If there’s dust coming under a door, don’t just sweep the floor. Seal the door! The final step of Wasco 3S involves creating standards so that our processes are clear and repeatable. Does this process have detailed work instructions for consistent production? Does this drawer need an example photo showing what “clean” looks like? Does every tool have a home?

By embracing the principles and ideologies of lean manufacturing that elevate the value our customers receive, we ensure the production of high-quality products and minimize waste on each order. We build pressure switches that you can trust. Since 1989, we’ve specified over 6,000 unique pressure sensors, and we have a dedicated team to provide you with all the information you need along the way. Contact us today to get exactly what you need.

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