Strategos Lean Briefing

The Newsletter of Lean Manufacturing Strategy
Drop Down Menu

Lean Lot Sizing

How to Optimize Lot Sizes for Kanban & Lean Manufacturing

Kansas City

12 MAY 2015

Issue# 91

Lot sizing is often a mystery, a presumption, a tradition or a guess. Economic Lot Sizing (ELS), a technique from the early 1900's has been discredited. Slogans and catchwords such as "One Piece Flow" frequently make little sense on the factory floor. The debate (when there is a debate) is usually characterized by a dearth of data and abundance of opinion. 

Lot Sizing Effects

Too Small

Too Large

  • Reduced Capacity
  • High Setup Cost
  • High Inventory
  • Increased Working Capital
  • High Storage Space & Cost
  • Inhibits Kanban
  • Second Order Effects on quality, scheduling & delivery

Kanban systems and other Lean techniques work best with small lots. But how small is small? And how small is too small? Of course, SMED helps but what happens when setup time is not zero even after SMED? And how does Value Stream Mapping fit into this?

Our web pages on Lean Lot Sizing try to bring rationality to lot size decisions. They start with the old "Economic Lot Size" model that, even flawed, is the only quantitative tool available. It turns out, a high degree of quantitative accuracy is not important. Nor is it necessary to analyze every item in a large mix of products.

If you are designing a kanban system or just have concerns about lot sizes, start here to learn more. Or download the articles in a free pdf file.

We also offer training and consulting in Kanban, Lean Scheduling and related lean techniques. Please feel free to call me at the number below to explore the possibilities.

Best Regards,

Quarterman Lee


Email Us at Strategos, Inc.


Lean Briefing Archive Issues

Drop Down Menu


Strategos, Inc.

 3916 Wyandotte - Kansas City MO 64111

 816-931-1414 -

The Strategos Guide To Value Stream and Process Mapping goes  beyond symbols and arrows. In over 163 pages it tells the reader not only how to do it but what to do with it.

Lean Briefing is only sent to those who subscribe or those who download from the Strategos website.

Books & Videos

Guide to Cycle Counting

Warehouse Planning Guide

Human Side of Lean Video