What is Lean?

November 30, 2011

Lean Production is a very important concept in manufacturing, but it’s also crossing over to service sectors like health care. It embraces and extends many aspects of Total Quality Management, 6-Sigma, Just-in-Time, and other concepts you may be familiar with.

The key difference is that Lean provides a coherent umbrella framework, in order to prevent these techniques from becoming ends in themselves, and keep the focus on delivering value to customers.

The Lean Enterprise Institute has done a lot of good work in this area, and their quick explanation of “What is Lean?” is a good primer. If you’re interested in more, SME offers Lean Certification programs in conjunction with the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), American Society for Quality (ASQ), and The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence.

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