Lean & Benefits

The term Lean was first coined 20 years ago by Professor James Womak and Professor Daniel Jones [1] to describe the most efficient automobile manufacturing companies. Surprisingly these were not the companies with the highest investment in automation and machinery, but those who did not follow the dogma of mass production and scientific management – so called Taylorism. The main characteristics of Lean management are:

  • A focus on the activities that create value for the customer, activities which do not create value are defined as waste. The goal of Lean Management is to continually remove waste from the whole value creation process -the Value Stream.
  • Value should only flow when there is a demand or pull from the customer.
  • All employees are treated as valuable resources, not people who merely work according to orders, and they are deeply involved in the continual improvement of company processes and in the quest for perfection.

Lean principles are now applied in all industrial and service sectors. Lean companies have a competitive advantage because they deliver superior products or services faster using fewer resources - capital investment, inventory, space, energy and labour.

 

[1] Womack, James P.; Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos (1990). The Machine That Changed the World.