The main idea of lean is to increase value for the customer, through reducing waste. It creates more value for customers with fewer resources. The word Lean was first used to describe Toyota’s way of manufacturing.
A Lean organization is one that understands the customer value and focuses key processes to increase this value. The main goal is to give a perfect value, through a perfect value process with zero waste.
To accomplish the main goal, lean thinking focus in optimizing the flow of product and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets and departments to customers, contrary to the usual management focus of optimizing separate technologies, assets and vertical departments.
Eliminate the waste of entire value streams, instead of single points, create better processes that need less human intervention and effort, less space, capital and time to create products and services at less costs and fewer defects, compared with traditional systems. Also companies are able to respond faster to the customer changes, this with high quality and low cost and better times. Management’s information also flows simpler and accuratly.
Lean is applicable to every business and process, is not just a tactic to reduce costs, and is a way of thinking and acting in the companies. Lean is not a temporal program that causes short-term reductions, companies transform themselves in the process to become Lean.
In Womack and Jones book is given a guide for managers to be used in the lean transformation in their organizations, the three fundamental guidelines according to the book are:
- Purpose: What customer problems will the enterprise solve to achieve its own purpose of prospering?
- Process: How will the organization assess each major value stream to make sure each step is valuable, capable, available, adequate, flexible, and that all the steps are linked by flow, pull, and leveling?
- People: How can the organization insure that every important process has someone responsible for continually evaluating that value stream in terms of business purpose and lean process? How can everyone touching the value stream be actively engaged in operating it correctly and continually improving it?
Lean is not just a trend, is here to stay as long as the companies are determined to give a perfect value with fewer resources.
Source: Lean Thinking. Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Revised and Updated. By James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones. http://books.simonandschuster.com/Lean-Thinking/James-P-Womack/9780743249270#sthash.WaG5qY98.dpuf