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 21st century, organizations seek to improve their products, processes, and people, increasing the need for lean management training. Although lean thinking is a practical and commendable step, enlightening the employees about what will happen makes the change much easier to handle.

In this article, you'll discover the meaning of lean management and why it's still thriving 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, a sense of shared accountability works towards improving work efficiency while eliminating waste of time and resources.

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

Ultimately, lean management must improve the product or services according to the client's perspective while reducing waste and allowing continuous growth and improvement.

5 Basic Principles of Lean Management

Let us discuss the 5 basic lean principles.

1. Identify Value

The value of any business is dependent on the type of problems it solves for its customers. Defining the value focuses on the problem from the customer's point of view and the 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 outside that value wastes 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 its product. Their clients had specific needs to focus on delivering by ultima, eventually cutting off unnecessary processes.

2. Map The Value Stream

After identifying the value, the following principle closely examines the organization's processes. An actual map showing each activity and its connection to the exact 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 must contribute their ideas and strategies to improve their contribution toward the end product.

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

3. Create Flow

Mapping helps you eliminate dead processes and revive new strategies and plans. Creating a flow ensures that the processes work seamlessly without hiccups. People need to be enlightened because it's not a one-day process, nor is it an instant change.

At this point, the organization can merge departments to smoothen the result and train the employees to be adaptive, multi-skilled, and productive. Part of the Flow also emphasizes restructuring in areas with 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 quickly without a struggle. ​Most manufacturers overproduce stock, which ultimately takes up additional resources and time to manage. A pull system replaces inventory management by working backward 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 quickly and deliver at the expected time. The system also helps the organization develop solutions that are likely to avoid 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 they're thrown off from their usual process and 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 fewer staff, especially during the reviewing process, resulting in a massive tailback in workload.

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


The lean management method 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 passes. 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 to 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.