Implementing Lean Management

The concept of lean management began in the late '40s when Toyota adopted a new strategy of lowering the cost of production while improving the manufacturing process and the final product. A process that may have seemed impossible gradually became a success, and many industries across the globe adopted it for their production and other business processes. In the 21​st​ century, organizations are looking to improve their products, processes, and people something that increases a need for ​lean management training​. Although lean thinking is a practical and commendable step, enlightening the employees of what is about to happen makes the change a lot easier to handle.

In this article, you’ll find out the meaning of lean management and why it’s still a success and relevant in contemporary businesses 70 years after its invention. Furthermore, you’ll find out the five lean principles that developed later on from the lean management concept.

What is Lean Management? 

Lean management​ is a concept that encourages shared decision making, leadership, and responsibility within an organization. When the decisions are spread across the organization, there's a sense of shared accountability that works towards improving work efficiency while eliminating wastage of time and resources.

For lean management to work, everyone, especially those in the workstations, gives ideas on how to increase productivity. Giving power to those who are involved in the actual duties is paramount because they have the first-hand experience about what takes place and how it would work better if done differently.

In the end, lean management must improve the product or services according to the client’s perspective while reducing waste and allowing for continuous growth and improvement.

5 Basic Principles of Lean Management

Let us discuss what are the 5 basic lean principles.

1. Identify Value

The value of any business is dependent on the type of problems that it’s solving for its customers. Defining the value focuses on the problem from the customer’s view and the kind of solution you can offer to meet the issue effectively.

As you discover the value, it becomes clear what you need to focus on as an organization because that’s what your customers are actively paying for. Anything else that is outside of that value is a waste of resources and time and must be cut off.

When Toyota came up with lean manufacturing, it aimed to eliminate any process that didn't contribute to the final value of their product. Their clients had specific needs that they had to focus on delivering by ultima eventually cutting off the unnecessary processes.

2. Map The value Stream

After identifying the value, the next principle takes a closer look in the organization's processes. Having an actual map that shows each activity and how it's connected to the real value helps to understand the bigger picture of lean thinking.

Various activities within the organization add little or no value to the end product while others are the heart of the final solution. Since there's always someone in charge of each process, they have to contribute their ideas and strategies on improving their contribution towards the end product.

Mapping the stream identifies the people and the kind of work they do as well as how their work improves the value to the client.

3. Create Flow

Mapping helps you get rid of dead processes, revive new strategies and plans. Creating a flow ensures that the processes work seamlessly without hiccups. That's why it's essential for the people to be enlightened because it's not a one day process and neither is it an instant change.

At this point, the organization can merge departments to smoothen the result, train the employees to be adaptive, multi-skilled, and productive. Part of the flow also emphasizes on restructuring in areas where there's a possible delay in results due to a large workload.

4. Establish Pull

A pull system ensures that you save on resources and the team can deliver results within a short time without a struggle​. ​Most manufacturers overproduce stock which in the end takes up additional resources and time to manage. A pull system replaces the inventory management by working backwards from the client to the factory.

The client can then pull an order or a request, and the factory or organization can process the order within a short time and deliver at the expected time. The system also helps the organization to come up with solutions that are least likely to end up becoming a loss to the organization through identifying value and strategizing to work and output only what the clients are willing to buy.

5. Continuous Improvement

Although the first four principles work to eliminate waste and achieve value, the fifth principle’s aim is perfecting the overall process. It focuses on the people and how they’re coping with the

change. A lean system may mean that they're thrown off from their usual process and they have to be multi-skilled to achieve their daily targets. Regular training will help them cope with the new process effectively.

Continually improving the process also means identifying areas that are experiencing significant delays within the process. There could be less staff, especially under the reviewing process resulting in a massive tailback in workload.

You can either get the team to work one person at a time before forwarding the work for review or increase the number of reviewing staff. The later may not work in lean thinking. Perfecting the system helps to see solutions while limiting expenses.


The lean method of management may have begun years ago, but it's been improving over time. It's still far from perfect 70 years later and will keep adapting to changing times and technology as time goes by. Learning the lean principles is only a part of lean management. To fully benefit from the lean management process, you need a Lean management Certification Training that can help expound the more profound theory behind lean management and the applicable principles.

The most critical aspect for organizations in realizing their goals is focusing on value. Once the value is identified and locked, the goal is clear, and strategies are set to achieve them over time.