The Lean Global Network (LGN) is a consortium of not-for-profit organizations dedicated to advancing lean thinking and practice throughout the world to make things better. LGN is currently comprised of 24 institutes and partners.
Through co-learning action research partnerships with universities and leading companies and organizations across all sectors, and an online community of over 300,000, LGN members gather the best in lean thinking and share it with the lean community and beyond.
The birth of the Lean Global Network stems directly from the MIT research (the International Motor Vehicle Research Program – IMVP) that introduced the term “lean production” to describe the revolutionary production and management system identified at Toyota, as explained in the groundbreaking book The Machine That Changed the World (Womack, Jones, & Roos).
MIT IMVP research leaders Jim Womack in the United States, Daniel Jones in the United Kingdom, and José Ferro in Brazil left academia to establish institutes to promote the ideas and practices of lean thinking in their respective countries. The success of these and other activities, including the phenomenal impact of the subsequent book Lean Thinking, quickly resulted in a global movement, with thought leaders deciding to establish institutes to promote and develop lean thinking in their countries. A community of lean thinkers and a network of lean institutes thus steadily emerged across the globe at the turn of the century.
We were formally chartered as a Massachusetts not-for-profit legal entity in September 2007 with 14 member institutes. Today, we have 24 education and research organizations and dozens of co-learning partners across the globe.
Our Purpose and Values
We are mission-driven individuals and organizations that take responsibility for advancing lean thinking and practice in our countries and regions in order to make things better for customers and society.
LGN members aim to:
Enable individuals to create more value;
Improve organizational performance;
Minimize resource use and environmental impact;
Provide more fulfilling work and continued personal development;
Improve the quality of life for individuals and society;
Raise living standards and enable prosperity.
To fulfil this collective mission, we engage in a variety of activities to 1) learn to further their own understanding of lean thinking and practices, which they 2) teach and otherwise support individuals and organizations to learn and practice lean thinking, and 3) share fundamentals and latest practices with the global community.
LGN education and training offerings consist of understanding lean fundamentals and concepts, hands-on simulations, real world problem solving, often including group reflection and discussions. We run experiential on-site or in-company gemba-based learning activities, public workshops, webinars, and education programs for companies.
We also partner with universities around the world, which entails anything from lectures to research to education program design and delivery. We partner with Singapore Institute of Technology, Moscow State University, Ohio State University, Nyenrode Business School (Netherlands), the University of South Australia and the Cape Town Graduate School of Business and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, among others.
As you can see on this website, we also produce online content that aims to help individuals, organisations and society to leverage lean and transform themselves.
Public conferences have been a primary means of promoting lean thinking in different countries since the beginning of the lean movement.
Summits reaching several hundred to over 1,000 attendees
Smaller regional events
Topic or sector-specific learning events for a few dozen to 100+ participants
Action Research through Co-Learning Partnerships and Projects
LGN institutes partner with private companies and public service organizations. Co-learning partnership programs may entail direct support or involve collaborative learning and sharing among multiple organizations. Developing and sharing this knowledge supports our mission to create and share the latest lean thinking via stories, publications and education programs to help make things better throughout the world.
Publications and Learning Materials
LGN institutes publish the findings of their learning in books and other learning materials, including extensive web-based media. Leading LGN authors include Jim Womack, Dan Jones, John Shook, Mike Rother, Pascal Dennis, Art Smalley and Michael Ballé.
At a Glance
Over the past 20 years, LGN institutes have:
Hosted 25,000 attendees at 100 conferences or “summits”;
Educated thousands of individuals in training classes and workshops;
Published 25 book titles that have sold approximately 100 copies;
Created content for websites that receive over 1 million visitors per day.
For more information on the Lean Global Network and to join us, please visit www.leanglobal.org
Planet Lean is the official online magazine of the Lean Global Network, launched in February 2014 as a platform to share LGN's knowledge of and experience with lean thinking and practice around the world.
Through story-telling, in-depth analysis, thought-provoking opinion and practical gemba-based advice, Planet Lean has quickly become an important voice in the Lean Community, influencing the debate and supporting transformations with its content.
Our articles aim to contribute to the expansion of lean globally by helping individuals and organizations on a lean journey to benchmark against others and learn from their successes and from their failures.
Since its founding, Planet Lean has published over 425 articles and received over 400,000 visits.
Roberto Priolo is a writer and editor based in London. Prior to joining the Lean Global Network and launching Planet Lean, Roberto was editor of Lean Management Journal and associate editor of The Manufacturer magazine. Coupling his love for travel with his passion for lean, Roberto is interested in seeing the methodology in action across the globe. He holds a degree in Political Science from the Università Cattolica in Milan, Italy, and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism.
President, Lean Management Instituut, The Netherlands
René Aernoudts is the president of the Lean Management Instituut in Zeist, The Netherlands, which he founded in February 2004. The institute has been spreading lean thinking in Holland and beyond for the past decade. Before founding the LMI, René was a managing director at a consulting firm for nearly eight years, specializing in lean. After graduating at Erasmus University in Rotterdam he became a lecturer at two Business Schools. He then worked in Logistics at the Flower Auction before starting his consulting career. René has assisted dozens of companies in their lean journeys.
Michael Ballé is co-founder of the Institut Lean France. An associate researcher at Telecom ParisTech, he holds a doctorate from the Sorbonne in Social Sciences and Knowledge Sciences. Michael is a best-selling author and an engaging speaker, and managing partner of ESG Consultants. He also works as a lean executive coach in various fields, from manufacturing to engineering, services to healthcare.
Writer and Editor, USA
Tom Ehrenfeld is a writer and editor living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A former writer/editor with Inc. Magazine and Harvard Business Review, he is the author of The Startup Garden: How Growing A Business Grows You. He works as a consulting editor for the Lean Enteprise Institute and with many other lean authors. Six of his edited books have won the Shingo Research Award.
José Roberto Ferro is president of the Lean Institut Brasil, the Brazilian affiliate of the Lean Global Network. José has also held positions as professor at a number of Brazilian universities and as visiting scholar at MIT. Over the course of his career, he has worked with dozens of organizations in Brazil and beyond, helping them with their lean transformations.
Founder and chairman of the Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK, Daniel T. Jones is a senior advisor to the Lean Global Network, a management thought leader, and mentor on applying lean process thinking to every type of business. Together with Jim Womack, he is the author of some of the most influential and popular management books available. A sought-after keynoter, Dan also has organized lean conferences around Europe. He advises organizations in different sectors on their lean transformations, and has experience supporting lean journeys in sectors including construction, manufacturing, supply chain, healthcare.
John Shook is recognized as a true sensei who enthusiastically shares his knowledge and insights within the lean community and with those who have not yet made the lean leap. Originally an industrial anthropologist, John learned about lean management while working for Toyota for nearly 11 years in Japan and the US, helping it transfer production, engineering, and management systems from Japan to NUMMI and subsequently to other operations around the world. While at Toyota's headquarters, he became the company's first American kacho (manager) in Japan. As co-author of Learning to See John helped introduce the world to value-stream mapping. In his latest book Managing to Learn, he describes the A3 management process at the heart of lean management and leadership. John is the Chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute and the Lean Global Network.
Management expert James P. Womack, is the founder and senior advisor to the Lean Enterprise Institute. The intellectual basis for the Cambridge, MA-based Institute is described in a series of books and articles co-authored by Jim himself and Daniel Jones over the past 25 years. During the period 1975-1991, he was a full-time research scientist at MIT directing a series of comparative studies of world manufacturing practices. As research director of MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Program, Jim led the research team that coined the term “lean production” to describe Toyota’s business system. He served as LEI’s chairman and CEO from 1997 until 2010 when he was succeeded by John Shook.
ARTICLE - Can a company be considered lean if its improvement efforts result in layoffs? Michael Ballé, PhD answers this frequently asked question drawing from his own experience dealing with organizations.
CASE STUDY - In November last year, a town in the West Midlands made the headlines after a survey named it the best place to live in the United Kingdom. Lean may not be directly responsible for the achievement, but there is little doubt it gave its contribution. LGN speaks with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to hear what it takes to bring lean thinking to local government and change the lives of citizens.
CASE STUDY - Faced with high costs, low demand and growing competition from China, Turkish textile manufacturer Yesim managed to develop a competitive advantage by transforming the way it does business with lean thinking and increasing its focus on the customer.
INTERVIEW - Anton Ulanov is the CEO of one of the largest agricultural businesses in Russia. Here, he speaks with LGN about the application of lean at Agroholding Kuban, discussing the challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the methodology in agriculture and in the wider context of business in Russia.
Lean is about creating the most value for the customer while minimizing resources, time, energy and effort. A lean approach to work is about:
understanding what’s really going on at the place where value is created – commonly known as the gemba.
improving the processes by which products and services are created and delivered.
developing and empowering people through problem solving and coaching.
developing leaders and an effective management system.
Lean thinking and practice help organizations become both innovative and competitive, which in turn allows them to become sustainable.
Today, lean has become a new, more effective approach to doing work, no matter what the work is, the sector or the size of the organization. In a lean organization, problems are opportunities for meaningful learning rather than errors to be swept under the rug or quickly resolved. Managers act as coaches, helping others get comfortable identifying problems and practicing daily continuous improvement.
Leadership means creating a management system to support a new kind of engagement with the real work at hand, the way the work is being done now, not the way you and your teams hope to be doing work sometime in the future. Planet Lean (and the Lean Global Network) aims to inspire people and organizations around the world to embrace lean principles and practices.
Here's a few sample stories from our archives, which will show you the far and wide lean has gone... and how many opportunities lie ahead:
Every Person Matters - a great story of leadership and transformation in a car dealership, all the way from Botswana
A set of tools: 5S, Kaizen events, value stream maps, andon, visual management, metrics, dashboards, A3, etc.
A program (efficiency, process improvement, performance management, MBO, cost reduction, 6Sigma, etc.) “done” to the people doing the work (and therefore creating value) by management, outsiders or internal expert staff.
Something that only applies to manufacturing or operations.