Advantages & disadvantages of lean production

Lean production is a prominent manufacturing philosophy that is based on customer-focused process improvements. The key idea is to increase value to customers while reducing the number of resources consumed and cycle times via waste elimination.

As with any business management theory, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages that must be balance for each organisation.

Customer satisfaction

A key principle of lean production is that by reducing waste, the final product is delivered to a customer with value. The advantage of this is increased customer satisfaction and in turn more success based upon loyalty of payers.


Another advantage of lean production is that productivity is increased because of the focused improvements made to processes with the intent of eliminating waste. However, in order to achieve such productivity, there is a significant upfront investment in achieving a level of standardised processing which can be a disadvantage during the implementation process.

Change of Attitude

Implementing lean production often demands a significant change is an organisation's attitude, which can be very challenging if an organisation is not well slated to deal with the changes. In order to be effective, an organisation must be prepared with an efficient and united workforce that is willing to accept changes.


As a result of process improvement initiatives, the overall quality of a company's product is also improved in the process. Since lean production systems are aimed at simplification and waste elimination, employees eventually have more time to focus on quality and fewer resources to provide detailed attention.

Delivery times

Another fundamental element of lean production is just in time production, which is the idea that excess inventory will not be maintained in order to fulfil customer orders. However, with this approach, a business must be able to rely on accurate delivery times from suppliers in order to meet their own customer's demands since inventory is not maintained to fulfil orders.