What is Lean?


Lean is a business philosophy applicable to any kind of work process at any kind of business. The premise: driving out waste in all of its forms will lead to better value for the customer. 

It means giving customers what they want and when they want it, at a price they are willing to pay. Simply stated, Lean is an avenue for achieving greater customer satisfaction, all while expending fewer resources

How can Lean have a positive impact?

  • Eliminates unnecessary process steps
  • Improves the process steps that add value
  • Optimizes your time and human capital
  • Reduces operating costs
  • Increases productivity
  • Bolsters on-time delivery

The tools of Lean

Researchers coined the term Lean in the late 1980s when naming Toyota Motor Corporation’s systemic approach to improvement. The company had developed a collection of revolutionary tools and organizational techniques, built upon a foundation established more than 50 years earlier by Henry Ford.     

Today, organizations are using a variety of Lean concepts, such as:  

  • Value stream mapping (VSM)
  • 5S
  • Standardized work
  • Visual control
  • Poke Yoke/mistake proofing
  • Kaizen
  • Set-up reduction