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Lean Manufacturing Principles

With continual improvement being at the heart of the Lean Manufacturing principles and related philosophies (Toyota Production System, Kaizen, Six Sigma, 7 Forms of Waste, Benchmarking, 5S’s, 3Ms,TQM etc), the key objective is to run leaner – i.e. efficiently increase productivity and improve quality whilst lowering costs and reducing waste.

FlowStore is extremely well poised to support and advise manufacturing and industry in its quest for continual improvement, and implementation of Lean Manufacturing, Kaizen and related philosophies.  Our team have more than 30 years’ experience in implementing Lean in the workplace, and for more than 30 years we have applied our products to improve efficiency in order picking, assembly systems and manufacturing cells.


5S Principles

5S is a methodology used in the workplace organisation using five Japanese terms, which either in Japanese or English all begin with the letter “S”. In Lean Manufacturing, these words are considered to be foundational. The words are: Sorting, Straighten, Spick and Span (or Shine), Systemise and Standardising.

Karakuri and Waste Reduction


Taking its inspiration from simple Japanese toy automata, as seen for example in clockwork robots, this term has more frequently been seen in production equipment design ideas in recent years and is applied to simple mechanism solutions.

A number of specially designed FlowTube components in both the Steel & Aluminium ranges have particular application in Karakuri developments – sliding and rotating  joints, pulleys, hinges, latches etc to help achieve low-cost automation. Karakuri and Kaizen are closely linked, with Kaizen being the philosophy of striving to change for the better.

Waste Reduction

There are seven forms of waste that are believed to hinder an organisation from moving forward and which thus need to be addressed strategically.

These are overproduction, unnecessary transportation, inventory, movement, defects, over-processing, and waiting.

Lean waste reduction strategies are key to improving the performance and productivity of the business.


Coined by Taiichi Ohno, considered to be the father of the Toyota Production System, the word Kanban is a “pull” signal used to trigger replenishment. Kanban project management can come in various forms such as a container, card or empty space.

For example a pick location contains two full containers of parts. When the first container is emptied and placed in a return chute, it signals that replenishment is needed for that location.

Thus Kanban is often seen as the Lean production’s nervous system – a “pull” system that creates flexibility in the production area, and is said to be the way to achieve the Just in Time concept.

Company Principles

Total Production Maintenance (TPM)

TPM is a maintenance philosophy in Lean production that is designed to integrate equipment maintenance into the manufacturing process.

The goal of any TPM programme is to eliminate losses and drive out waste tied to equipment maintenance and / or machine failures.  

By minimising re-work, slow running equipment and downtime, maximum value is added at the minimum cost.

Just In Time

Just in Time, or JIT, is probably the most well-known of the Lean Manufacturing principles. It is an inventory strategy that seeks to improve an organisation’s return on investment through the careful schedule planning of producing only what is needed, the correct amount at the right time.

In essence Just in Time means to be geared towards making a business more profitable through improvement in performance and efficiency of production.

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