Lean Thinking – the term popularized over a decade ago by Jim Womack and Dan Jones in their book with the same name, refers to the core principles behind the Toyota Production System (TPS):

  • Specify value by product
  • Identify the value stream for each product
  • Remove waste from the value stream
  • Make value flow without interruptions
  • Let the customer pull value from the producer
  • Pursue perfection through continuous improvement

The TPS system and its supporting “Lean” culture, first set in place at Toyota after World War II, continues to drive Toyota‘s incredible financial success even today. Over the years, Lean practices have spread from Toyota and manufacturing to thousands of companies in all industries including healthcare, financial services and retail.

According to Womack and Jones’ Lean Enterprise Institute, “Lean thinking changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies and assets to optimizing the flow of the product through the entire value stream.