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Lean Manufacturing and ERP Systems: Different by Design

When Henry Ford began using continuous flow manufacturing back in 1913, Kiichiro Toyoda's term lean manufacturing had not yet been developed. Both men, with their own dreams and leading-edge ideas, were on similar paths as early pioneers in the realm of manufacturing best practices.

These days, the Internet abounds with discussions of best practices, lean manufacturing and how these concepts fit in modern manufacturing facilities. Of particular interest is the discussion of lean manufacturing and the now-mainstream enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Consultants, industry experts and educational scholars continue to debate the pros and cons of both systems, discuss the idea of the two working in tandem, and question if such a marriage can ever succeed. As the debates continue, it becomes increasingly clear that while no system is perfect unto itself, both ERP and lean manufacturing have their place in today's manufacturing environment.

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