Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day: Definition of Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing Topic of the Day: Definition of Lean Manufacturing

How do you define Lean Manufacturing?  Our definition of Lean manufacturing can be kind of long and drawn-out, but we like to boil things down and state them simply and clearly.  You might say, when it comes right down to it, we have a fairly “Lean” way of defining Lean Manufacturing.

Lean Manufacturing: Is a system / approach to eliminating waste and enabling continuous improvement.

That is a Lean way of saying it for sure.  No, it doesn’t capture all the nuances of Lean Manufacturing, or the Lean tools and principles etc.  But in a Lean way and without any elaboration, this simple definition of Lean Manufacturing satisfies a few of the most essential components of what Lean Manufacturing really is.

    1.   A System / Approach – Not just a set of tools you throw at your problems, but an overriding strategy and philosophy guided by principles.

    2.   Eliminating Waste – Perhaps the greatest emphasis in Lean Manufacturing is the elimination of waste in all it’s infinite forms.  The elimination of waste in Lean Manufacturing is truly the “mother” of…

    3.   Continuous Improvement – Which constantly challenges the status quo and asks the question: “Is there a better way?”

Of course there is much more to say about our Lean Manufacturing Definition and how the many components come together, but let’s just keep our focus on what matters most for today, and define Lean Manufacturing in Lean terms.

How do you boil it all down and define Lean Manufacturing?

All the Best,


PS:   This web site contains a myriad of posts and articles that address the subtleties of Lean Manufacturing and the science of effectively and efficiently making the transformation.   For example:

  • Are you currently operating on one shift?
  • Running a job-shop?
  • Having difficulty convincing upper management to make the commitment?
  • Having trouble meshing the continuous improvemnt power of lean with the scheduling requirements of your ERP system?
  • Dealing with the complexity of government contract / aerospace requirements?
  • Got persistent Quality issues?
  • Perhaps you have supplier issues?
  • Or, you’re already in the throes of a lean transition, but progress is not what you’d hoped for.
  • Need more information on Lean Manufacturing tools and techniques?
  • Dealing with huge capital equipment: e.g. the steel or food industries?

    Still didn’t address your hot button?   Well, take a look at the posts (look right) or check out the complete article list .

    Need still more?   Check out our sister site.   We merged the two companies, but retain both web sites, essentially doubling the amount of information we provide.   And, if this still doen’t answer your questions, feel free to call or write.   There is no charge, and we always attempt to add value.

  • Comments

    • Rosanna | January 31, 2010 | Reply

      Does Lean and Agile Manufacturing the same? I hear both concepts but I'm not sure if both make reference to the same think. Please let me know. regards, Rosanna

        • Sanjay Prajapati | February 2, 2010 | Reply

          NO.Lean and Agile Manufacturing is not the same.It is used only interchangeably. Lean and agile manufacturing differ in terms of drivers and outcomes. 1. The key characteristics that different agile from lean are that an agile manufacturing system is highly capable of developing new products and providing customization opportunities in an efficient manner. 2. Lean Manufacturing has a significant impact on cost performance whereas agile manufacturing has not, and that agile manufacturing has a stronger relationship with volume as well as product mix flexibility than does lean manufacturing. Without agility (In Agile Manufacturing) leanness (In Lean Manufacturing) can lead to shortages.

    • Shahd Al-Zubeidi | March 31, 2010 | Reply

      Hi...in fact,I am interested on the lean supply chain and its relationship with the inventory and human resources?do u have any details about that? Thank yo so much :)

        • Jack | April 18, 2010 | Reply

          Hi Shahd, Yes we do. The article "Lean Supplier Development: A Synopsis" speaks directly to the correlation between the amount of raw inventory on-hand and supplier performance. Also, there are several of the human relations aspects discussed in the "Lean Manufacturing Tool Kit" article. Feel free to write or call if you have specific issues you'd like to discuss. Jack

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