The spirit of Lean

Sometimes it is hard to explain what Lean really means. When talking to people new to this world, it can be really hard to make clear that tools and techniques are not the most important part. It is more about cultural transformation.

This article explains really well some of the more important aspects:

  • Lean needs a purpose. People must know why you are in business. You have to know too. Don’t go Lean until you know why you exist. You create value for your customer, this is where you must excel.
  • Lean is learning: teach your people continuously, let them try and fail. Don’t hide your problems, use them instead as a learning tool. Improvement is done best using baby steps.
  • Lean is about the process: a great process can only produce great results (value). Watching the process (at the gemba) is the only way to learn.
  • Lean is not about the money: Yes, money is important, but it is rarely the most important thing. Time (lead time), safety (ergonomics) or quality (defects) have typically more impact in customer satisfaction. Money can take care of itself.

“What is Lean?” is not easy to answer. Learn more from the experts:


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