Chapter 1. Eliminate Waste

The Origins of Lean Thinking

In the late 1940s, a small company named Toyota set out to manufacture cars for Japan, but it had a problem. Since people did not have much money, cars had to be cheap. Mass production was the cheapest way to make cars, but mass production meant making thousands of the same kind of car, and the Japanese market was simply not large enough to need all those cars. So the question was, how could Toyota make cars in small quantities but keep them as inexpensive as mass-produced cars?

From this dilemma, the Toyota Production System emerged to form the basis of a whole new way to think about manufacturing, logistics, and eventually product development. The mastermind behind this new way of thinking ...

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