An overview of Lean & agile manufacturing

An overview of Lean & agile manufacturing


Lean & Agile manufacturing are the two different approaches in manufacturing, one emphasized upon optimization of resources while later on adaptability to the changes.

Need for advanced techniques in manufacturing

During the monopolistic market (one product – single manufacturer), there was nothing like the optimization of resources and rapid response to customer needs. Even a company or manufacturer was free to set the price of the product. All the conditions favoured the companies or manufacturers and they enjoyed a large degree of freedom.

   As a  result of globalization, all the companies jumped into the era of the competitive market(one product – multiple manufacturers)  where all the companies/ manufacturers have to compete with one another to provide a product, which meets the customer demand. 

 Customer demand

***High- Quality product at an affordable price within a stipulated time***

 To meet these criteria and to make themselves into the competition, the companies/manufacturers are upgrading themselves by adopting different advanced tools and techniques like JIT, 5S, Kaizen, Six Sigma, etc.

Lean Manufacturing

If we talk about lean manufacturing, It is a manufacturing philosophy to minimize the eight types of waste(Muda) along with unevenness(mura) and overburden(muri).

In other words, the main focus of lean manufacturing is to optimized the available resources (especially 4M like man-machine-material and of course money)

Note:- ***When we optimized resources waste automatic goes down***

 So, It is mainly concerned with all those tools and techniques which result in the optimization of resources or reducing wastage.

 To minimize the waste and optimization of resources a company tries to cut down all the indirect costs. Indirect costs are those which are included in the manufacturing of a product but do not directly affect the products like inventory cost, transportation cost, etc.

 The lean manufacturing the approach is best suitable for the Mass Production system ( A system where a single type of product is manufactured in huge quantities).

To know more about Mass Production System Click here

Agile manufacturing

Agile manufacturing may be considered as the advancement or next step to lean manufacturing.

Agile manufacturing also sometimes used interchangeably with lean manufacturing but it is technically distinct.

Agile manufacturing is a manufacturing philosophy that is concerned all about the quick response to the customer requirement. Agile manufacturing shows the adaptability to the changes( means how quickly a company responds to customer demand satisfactorily) and is always customer-oriented.

Sometimes, An agile manufacturing system may also possess the features of lean manufacturing if it is so than it is known as Leagile Manufacturing.( Leagile = Lean + agile)

 Agile manufacturing is best suitable for the batch/ job production system where different varieties of products are manufactured.

To know more about Batch Production System Click here

 Analogy:- Simply for an analogy, we may take a fat man (lazy and overweight),  lean man (minimum weight), and an athlete man (quick responsive) to resemble simple manufacturing, lean manufacturing, and agile manufacturing respectively.

Advantages of Lean & Agile Manufacturing

If applied successfully both the manufacturer and customer get benefited in their respective interests.

  • While a customer gets a high-quality product at an affordable price that’s too in stipulated time.
  • The manufacturer gets benefitted in terms of profits.

Limitations of Lean & Agile manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing 

In lean manufacturing, each & every process is standardized and left little or no room for further improvement. In such conditions, if an error (deviation from the) occurs it will disturb the complete system.

Agile manufacturing

Agile manufacturing works on a complex yet strong network of peoples( suppliers, workers, etc) within as well as outside the system. A little compromise may lead to hampering the very objective of the system.

Future scopes 

As markets demand is changing quickly with shorter product life cycles, no company can afford to remain uncompetitive. Agile manufacturing gives them the proper strength to adopt these changes.

Increasing the burden over the resources are forcing the companies to opt lean manufacturing for the optimization of the available resources.  


This is all about Lean & Agile Manufacturing.

Hope you find it useful.



Happy learning 

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14 thoughts on “An overview of Lean & agile manufacturing

  1. Overall good summary overall on lean and agile and i'm sure with new normal the leagile the future. Where the demand is not too repetitive in market or user have customized demands

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