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What is Lean

What is Lean

Don’t be shocked when you still hear the question, “What is Lean”?  Although Lean principles have been practices for the past century, it’s still a new concept to many small to medium sized businesses and some industries outside of Manufacturing and Healthcare.  Simply put, Lean is about removing the waste and non-value added activity that exists within each and every process throughout the business.  You might be asking, “so what is waste and non-value added activity”?  This is everything that doesn’t bring value to the customer and activity within the processes that the customer isn’t willing to pay for.  Removing this waste has a direct impact to your bottom-line by improving the efficiency of these processes.

7 Types of Waste

Taichi Ohno, the founder of the Toyota Production System (TPS), introduced the 7 Types of Waste during his tenure with Toyota.  To simplify the identification of waste (or non-value added activity) Ohno created 7 Types of Waste for practitioners.  The 7 Types of Waste are defects, overproduction, inventory, over-processing, motion, transportation, and waiting.

  1. Defects
  2. Overproduction of things not demanded by customers
  3. Inventories awaiting further processing or consumption
  4. Unnecessary over-processing
  5. Unnecessary motion of employees
  6. Unnecessary transportation and handling of goods
  7. Waiting for an upstream process to deliver, for a machine to finish processing, for a supporting function to be completed, or for an interrupted worker to get back to work