Questions Engineering

What is lean and agile manufacturing?


Usman Banda

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Manufacturing is the most important process that is directly or indirectly associated with all the developments we are making every day.

What is manufacturing?    

Manufacturing in simple terms is the collection of different processes aimed at the conversion of raw materials into finished products.

Manufacturing is a long process comprising of several complex processes, each of which requires absolute perfection.

One of the ways the companies can increase their profits is by reducing the waste generated during production. This helps to increase productivity as well as show a quicker response to the changing demands of the customers.

Let us discuss two such concepts aimed at reducing the waste generation and to boost up productivity and meet the customer requirements.

Lean Manufacturing

The word lean signifies a small amount. The whole principle of lean manufacturing is an efficient use of both money and time. Lean manufacturing encourages investing a small amount of money to purchase the right amount of raw materials for production. The production is generally a smooth and continuous one.

Lean manufacturing also encourages investing the money only in those types of raw materials that are necessary for production, producing and shipping only the required amount of finished products, to ensure the most efficient use of the invested time and money. Lean manufacturing, therefore, helps in improving the quality of the products manufactured and to reduce waste generation which ultimately will increase the revenue for the company.

So summarizing the objectives of lean manufacturing we get:

  • Efficient use of raw materials

  • Improve build quality

  • Improve Delivery Time

  • Efficient waste management

  • The primary focus is on the factory level

Agile Manufacturing

Agile manufacturing focuses mainly on customer satisfaction. Agile manufacturing ensures the efficient use of the existing tools and equipment present in a company to revert timely to the ever-changing demands of the audience.

Agile manufacturing requires a frequent update on the manufacturing data to ensure a quicker response to the customer requirements, without the need for any new investment. Agile manufacturing is important in situations when the volume of production is less, but the need for variability is high. The production type is variable as it depends on the demands of the customers.

So summarizing the objectives of agile manufacturing we get:

  • Utmost priority is for the customers

  • Responsive to quick changes

  • A large number of variations of the products can be manufactured

  • Primarily focuses on the enterprise level


Both Lean and Agile manufacturing aims at increasing the overall revenue for the company by reducing waste generation and to ensure complete customer satisfaction.

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