How Lean Manufacturing Revolutionizes Manufacturing Shops?

CNC machining

Have you ever wondered how CNC machine shops are able to efficiently produce high-quality products while minimizing waste and maximizing profits? The answer lies in lean manufacturing, a methodology that has revolutionized the manufacturing industry. In this blog post, I will explain how lean manufacturing can transform CNC machine shops and improve their operations.


What is Lean Manufacturing for CNC Machine Shops?

CNC machining

Before discussing lean manufacturing in CNC shops, we must know “Lean manufacturing.” Lean manufacturing is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste in the production process.

It originated in the automotive industry in the 1940s and has since been adopted by various industries, including manufacturing. The goal of lean manufacturing is to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve quality. It achieves this by focusing on continuous improvement, respect for people, and the elimination of waste.

Thus, lean manufacturing in CNC shops is recognized as a method in which CNC shops undergo CNC machining processes with low waste elimination and enhanced product production. It is beneficial for the successful production of the desired parts in less with minimal wastage.

In the context of CNC machine shops, lean manufacturing can transform the way they operate. By applying lean principles, CNC machine shops can identify and eliminate waste in their processes, resulting in improved efficiency, reduced costs, and increased productivity.

In the manufacturing world, waste is not only referred to as leftovers produced at the end. Instead, it is a broad term summarized by a single word, “DOWNTIME.” It is an abbreviation of Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-utilization of talents, Transportation, Inventory excess, Motion waste, and Excessive processing, considered waste of manufacturing processes.


8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing in CNC Machine Shops

CNC machining

There are 8 types of wastes produced during CNC manufacturing in CNC shops which are explained below.



Before the CNC machining process begins, the manufacturers confirm the number of manufacturing parts to prevent overproduction. The spare parts are considered waste if the manufactured parts exceed the manufacturing limit. They exceed customers’ needs, so they may refuse to accept them. The major reason behind overproduction is the poor coordination between the employees and unplanning. It also causes more loss than profit.


2- Waiting:

Waiting or Wait time, as the name suggests, is when manufacturers stop the machining process for certain reasons and wait until manufacturing starts again. Certain reasons may cause the CNC machining process to stop. Few of them are a few workpieces, insufficient required tools and instruments, and less information about the machining process. In short, the wait time results from employees’ negligence in CNC shops.


3- Transport:

The unrequired transport of the workpieces and the produced parts from one place to another is considered waste. Transportation directly affects the timing of the machining process. The more transportation, the more time required to complete a machining process. The employees must manage to reduce transportation for the timely manufacturing of desired parts.


4- Poor design process:

The poor design process could be better in lean manufacturing in CNC shops. The required parts and processes are designed before manufacturing through specialized computerized programs. Their poor design can lead to the production of inappropriate and undesired parts.


5- Inventory:

A big inventory can be a waste because of the production of more parts than ordered by a specific customer. The manufacturing of spare parts uses more than the required amount of material and enhances the working time of the CNC machines. We can say that an inventory that exceeds the requirement is a waste.


6- Inefficient working process:

Efficient and smooth working processes are important for producing high-quality and accurate products. If the working process is done efficiently, it will produce undesired parts more accurately. Such parts fail to meet customers’ requirements. Thus it is termed as waste in lean manufacturing.


7- Defect:

The defective parts produced during the CNC machining process are considered waste material. The reason behind the defective parts can be inexperienced employees and inappropriate planning of the manufacturing process. The wrong choice of tools and material, machinery, dimensional inaccuracy, poorly designed prototypes, and carelessness during the process can also cause the production of products with defects. The production of defective parts not only results in time wastage but also causes loss of money.


8-Underutilized human resources and creativity:

Underutilized human resources and creativity are known as waste in lean manufacturing. The employees need to use human resources and creative skills that can result in the production of high-quality components.


10 Methods to Improve Lean Manufacturing in CNC Machining Shops:

Various methods are utilized for improving lean manufacturing in CNC machining shops. The most popular methods are as follows.


1- Reduce Delivery Time:

Reducing delivery time can help improve lean manufacturing in CNC shops. If you deliver the ordered products timely to a customer, it will free up space for products that are manufactured from other machining processes. Moreover, the customers will get their products on time, which can help reduce waste.


2- Waste Deduction:

The waste deduction can directly improve lean manufacturing. The CNC machining process must be undergone under experienced supervision using specific materials, tools, and machinery. It will help reduce the chances of overproduction, defects, inventory, inefficient working processes, and poor design processes, all known as waste. Less waste production and more efficient lean manufacturing.


3- Optimize Inventory:

Optimizing inventory is beneficial if you are trying to improve lean manufacturing. You must properly set the overall end production before the machining process starts. It will help reduce overproduction at the end of the CNC machining process by using the required materials. An efficient design, working process and experienced workers are vital in optimizing inventory.


4- Standard Working Process:

A standard working process is vital to reduce waste in lean manufacturing. It can help you to run a CNC machining process through a precise procedure using the most appropriate and easy technologies. This way, the desired amount of great quality parts exhibiting greater dimensional accuracy are produced. Such a working process also aids in improving machine-run time and eliminates the chances of producing defective products.


5- Maximizing Tooling Efficiency:

The selection of efficient tools is important while running a CNC milling process. More efficient tools may not only increase the machining time but may also produce parts needing more features. Such parts may also offer less accuracy and ultimately produce waste.

Therefore, you must select highly efficient tools based on your specific machining process. Tools with greater efficiency ensure manufacturing parts with greater accuracy, precision, and desired features. Such tools also work rapidly, reducing the machining time. Thus, they are great options for improving lean manufacturing in CNC shops.


6- Improve Quality:

Improved quality of both machining process and produced parts corporates in improving lean manufacturing. A well-planned machining process produces high-quality end products. If the machining process is properly planned earlier, you will only have good-quality parts.

Therefore, you must set up an efficient machining operation to produce parts with improved quality. Such parts lack any defects and undesired features and meet the requirement of customers. In this way, it reduces waste in CNC machining shops and improves lean manufacturing.


7- Continuous Improvement:

It is obvious that the more advanced a CNC machining operation is, the more efficient the end product. You must operate the machining process differently if you are looking for an improved product. Improvement is always made by bringing improvement in the machining process.

To produce products, you must look for new creative ideas, advanced tools, and machinery. Continuous improvement improves lean manufacturing and can make your customer happy through your unbeatable end products.


8- Maximizing Tooling Efficiency

Tooling efficiency plays a crucial role in achieving lean manufacturing objectives. It can reduce waste and enhance productivity. Regular maintenance of CNC machines is essential for ensuring their optimal performance.

This approach reduces tool failure risks, and selecting the appropriate tools can maximize efficiency in CNC machining.

We should consider factors such as tool material, geometry, and coatings when choosing tools to get significant benefits. This lean manufacturing approach can help us optimize tooling selection and design and reduce setup times. It enhances overall machining performance and is vital for achieving lean manufacturing objectives. This method of maximizing tooling efficiency enables CNC machine shops to meet customer demands.


9- Just-in-Time Production (JIT)

Just-in-Time (JIT) production focuses on producing the right quantity of products delivered at the proper time to meet customer demand. It also minimizes waste. Implementing JIT principles can be the main reason for big improvements, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

We can enhance lean manufacturing through the JIT production approach.

Reducing setup time is a key element of JIT production in CNC machine shops and ensures consistent product quality.


10-Total Quality Management

It is an important lean manufacturing approach, and we aim to ensure a self-reliant workflow. The main components of TQM are statistical methods, problem-solving solutions, quality reviews by customers, and systematic data analysis. It also focuses on long-term goals and optimized output of quality products.



In conclusion, the implementation of lean manufacturing principles has revolutionized the field of CNC machining manufacturing shops. Lean manufacturing has become the cornerstone of success in CNC machining, enabling shops like Worthy Hardware to deliver high-quality products, meet diverse customer needs, and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving market. Embracing lean manufacturing is the key to unlocking the full potential of CNC machining operations.