Lean is recognized globally as a one of the most powerful and effective ways known to build, improve, and sustain businesses and institutions. Following a Lean path, any business in any industry of any size or type can improve itself continuously — both in the short term and over the long term. Led by advancements first pioneered at the Toyota Motor Corporation over 50 years ago and since translated and refined by experts and practitioners world wide, the principles, methods, and practices of Lean constitute a successful approach to organizing and operating any enterprise.
If you’re in certain manufacturing industries, healthcare facilities, or public institutions, you’ve probably heard about Lean. You may even have been through a kaizen event or been part of implementing standardized work. If so, you’ve already experienced some of the power of Lean tools. But if you’re like many people, while the term Lean itself may be familiar to you, its principles and practices are not.
The Toyota Production System (TPS) was the incubator where the methods, techniques, and tools of Lean were pioneered and refined. But for decades, the whole system of Lean principles and practices was known only to specialized manufacturers, certain academic researchers, and quality gurus. Its full potential was a mystery to most organizations and professionals.
All that changed in the late 1980s, as the term Lean was coined to describe the fundamentals of TPS to the rest of the world. As the ...