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The Lean Thinking : Mura, Muri, Muda

Lean thinking is a technique promoted by Toyota with the intention of making production more cost effective. The first line of the first text book on the Toyota Production System published by the Toyota Motor Corporation education department in 1973 is said to state this:

"The Toyota Production System is a series of activities to lower cost by improving productivity through the thorough elimination of waste."

Toyota Production System or TPS which was created by Taiichi Ohno around the 1950s is said to be the origin of Lean Production. Lean consists of a set of tools which helps in the identification and eradication of the wastes. Wastes can be defined as all activities and tools that do not add value to the customer. A customer will not pay for the wastes which add to the cost of production. The different types of wastes are classified as muda, muri and mura.

Muda is any non-value adding activity that the customer is unwilling to pay for. Taiichi Ohmo has identified seven wastes that normally occur in the making of a product. They are:

• Inventory that consists of products or materials waiting to be processed that have failed to generate an income is considered to be a waste.
• Defects that have been an outcome of the process which has to be reworked, leading to the loss of certain materials and time.
• Transportation of materials, product, etc as the customers is not willing to pay for it.
• Motion which denotes the excess movement of the employees or equipment leading to unnecessary wear and tear.
• Overproducing more than what is required by the customer.
• Over processing or adding values more than what the customer is ready to pay for.
• Waiting time on account of the delay due to the shortage of materials, and other causes.
To eliminate muda, the management needs to go to the Gemba or the shop floor, observe the muda and take steps for its eradication.

Muri means overburden on the employees which has a direct impact on the employee morale affecting it in a negative manner. Overburden arises when the employee is to perform too many tasks creating a work stress in him. When the employee is forced to take too many decisions during the times of stress, it too ends up being a waste of fruitful labour. Muri can be minimised to a great extent through proper standardisation of the tasks. This calls for the breaking up the job into smaller tasks, identification of the normal and abnormal tasks in the production, discovery of an easy method of doing the task and finally integrating them. On standardisation, the takt time for doing a task or the minimum amount of time that a task requires to get completed is well defined. The definition of the takt time assists in the removal of overburden.

The term mura in Japanese stands for unevenness in the production system which can be related to the man power or the materials. Widely varying workload is a waste as it has a direct impact on the productivity of the employees. To ease the burden, the jobs can be broken down into normal routine tasks and other tasks. The time requirement for the normal routine can be defined by the takt time. The task should be performed on the basis of the time set by the customer demand. This will tell about the jobs that need to be performed per day to guarantee its completion within the deadline. Performance of the job without proper planning leads to overburden which is considered to be a non-value adding activity.

Thus lean production identifies the best way of doing the job through the removal of the wastes like muda, muri and mura, thereby ensuring smooth flow of activities.

Comments Listing
Posted: 09/05/2013 13:13:47


Posted: 09/05/2013 13:12:55


Posted: 30/03/2012 07:47:01

Very Precise & informative

Posted: 28/02/2012 02:45:53


Posted: 25/02/2012 03:00:49


Posted: 14/02/2012 04:04:52


Posted: 14/02/2012 04:03:54

excellent information.thsnks

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