House of Lean Management
Faced with the choice of changing one’s mind and proving that there
is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.
John Kenneth Galbraith
IN A NUTSHELL
A Lean management system, along with the desired productivity and
protability improvements that are usually associated with it, can neither
be achieved nor be sustained without having a well-dened structure. is
structure is composed of three fundamental aspects:
1. Company-wide Lean philosophy
2. Organizational structure conducive to making it a reality through
Lean learning and Lean practice
3. Complete house of Lean management (HOLM) infrastructure
On the basis of the manufacturing processes developed by Toyota, the
concepts used in Lean thinking today can be represented using the afore-
mentioned graphic, commonly referred to as the house of Lean. e house
is a symbol used to show the coherence and harmony of the philosophy
using the key components of Lean:
• Just in time (JIT): JIT (one of the two pillars of Lean) refers to sup-
plying what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount that is
• Jidoka: Jidoka (the second of the two pillars of Lean) is a stop-and-
respond approach—either machine or human—to halt production
and address product defects or quality issues as they are encountered
in a process.
64 • e Lean Management Systems Handbook
• Heijunka: Referring to production smoothing, heijunka is the level-
ing of production volume and variety (waste) during given periods.
Heijunka creates quality and stability; it is a prerequisite for JIT.
• Standardized work: Organizing a job or task in an ecient activity
sequence while minimizing waste.
• Kaizen: A Japanese term that is translated to “change for the better.”
Kaizen is a philosophy of continuous improvement.
As previously mentioned, the use of the term Lean in a business or
manufacturing environment describes a philosophy that incorporates a
collection of tools and techniques into the business processes to optimize
time, human resources, assets, and productivity while improving the qual-
ity level of products and services to their customers. Becoming Lean is a
commitment to a process and a tremendous learning experience should you
attempt to implement Lean principles and practices into your organization.
Lean management is a philosophy of rigorous continuous improvement that
involves all employees, the goal of which is to constantly pursue the elimi-
nation of waste and reduction of variability, toward the pursuit of perfection
in our processes and services. At its core, Lean management is all about
• Understanding value, as dened by the customer: What steps add
to the customer’s perception and understanding of what is truly
• Identifying the value stream for products and services: What ow of
materials and information is currently required to bring a product or
service to the customer?
• Creating a ow of value from beginning to end: Where are the oppor-
tunities for improvement (e.g., eliminating unnecessary steps and
reducing waste) within the value stream?
• Pull from the customer: As ow is introduced, how will customers be
able to pull value from the next upstream stage of the process?
• A continuous pursuit of perfection: As value is continuously identi-
ed, and waste and non-value-adding steps are eliminated, how can
we continue to improve on our processes to ensure that customers
will continue to receive what they need and expect—the perfect cus-