Lean thinking

The House of Lean is often used to illustrate the key principles and how they work together as a complete business system.


People & Purpose – strong leadership, clear purpose, employee engagement, development and mutual trust.

Process Stability – Continuous improvement (kaizen), standardised work, 5S, visual workplace and TPM.


Just in Time – Flow, pull and levelling.

Built in Quality (Jidoka) – autonomation, error proofing and visual control.


Best quality, lowest cost and shortest lead time through shortening the production flow by eliminating waste and variation.


“Follow me and we’ll work this out together” – Lean Leadership

What does a “lean” process look like?

Each step in the process is …

  1. Valuable – as judged by the customer
  2. Capable – delivers this value on time with minimum variation
  3. Available – ready whenever needed
  4. Adequate – just enough capacity
  5. Flexible – adapts quickly to changes in customer requirements

and the steps are linked by …

  1. Flow – smooth flow of value with minimal interruptions
  2. Pull – the output of the process responds to the demand of the customer
  3. Levelling – reduced variation in throughput

How do you create a Lean process?

5 Principles

  1. Specify what does and does not create value from the customer’s perspective and not from the perspective of individual firms, functions and departments.
  2. Identify all the steps necessary to design, order and produce the product across the whole value stream to highlight non value adding waste (refer to Value Stream Mapping).
  3. Make those actions that create value flow without interruption, detours, backflows, waiting or scrap.
  4. Only make what is pulled by the customer.
  5. Strive for perfection by continually removing successive layers of waste as they are uncovered.

Source: Lean Thinking by Jim Womack and Dan Jones

- top -