Lean management

Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on February 1, 2024.


Lean management is a systematic approach to business management that focuses on creating value for the customer while minimising waste and maximising efficiency.

What is lean management?

Lean management emphasises continuous improvement, customer-centricity, employee involvement, and the elimination of non-value-added activities.

Principles of lean management:

  1. Customer value: The primary focus of lean management is to identify and deliver what customers value most.
  2. Value stream mapping: Lean management involves mapping out the entire value stream, which is the sequence of steps required to deliver a product or service.
  3. Flow: Lean management aims to create a smooth, uninterrupted flow of work through the value stream. This minimises delays, bottlenecks, and interruptions.
  4. Pull system: Instead of producing based on forecasts or inventory levels, lean management promotes a pull system where products or services are produced in response to actual customer demand. 
  5. Continuous improvement: Continuous improvement is a core tenet of lean management. It involves making small, incremental changes to processes on an ongoing basis
  6. Respect for people: Lean management places a strong emphasis on respecting and involving employees. It recognises that employees are the best source of knowledge about their work processes.
  7. Standardisation: Standardised work procedures are established to ensure consistency and quality in processes.
  8. Visual management: Visual tools and techniques are used to make information and processes easily understandable and accessible to all employees.

Implementing lean management can lead to numerous benefits, including increased productivity, improved quality, reduced lead times, enhanced customer satisfaction, higher employee engagement, cost savings, and increased profitability.

Example of lean management

Let’s consider a manufacturing plant that adopts lean management principles to improve efficiency and eliminate waste. The management team conducts a thorough analysis of the manufacturing processes and identifies areas of waste.

The management team creates a value stream map to visualise the entire production process, from raw materials to finished products. This helps identify bottlenecks, delays, and non-value-added activities.

As a result of implementing lean management principles, the manufacturing plant experiences reduced lead times, lower inventory costs, improved product quality, and increased overall productivity. The streamlined processes contribute to higher customer satisfaction and a more competitive position in the market.

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