Lean Management

The idea of “lean management” can refer to both individual managerial behaviors and, more in general, the set of principles and practices characterizing the adoption of lean thinking in an organization.

In the first case, lean management is closer in meaning to the idea of “lean leadership” and entails the development of behaviors that foster continuous improvement at the front line, such as respect for people, asking questions (rather than providing answers), going to see to really understand the work and the causes of problems, and scientific problem solving. In the second instance, lean management describes the lean philosophy more in general.

In its more general meaning, lean management – or lean thinking, if you prefer – derives from the Toyota Production System and is now recognized as a superior management approach that, through continuous improvement, customer focus, teamwork and relentless people engagement, leads to great results in terms of quality, performance, delivery, and cost. The promise of lean management is to create the most value for customers using the least possible amount of resources. As an approach to running a business, it brings benefits to all parties involved, from customers to employees, suppliers to wider society.

 

Isao Yoshino interview lean management Toyota

Isao Yoshino reflects on the role of management at Toyota

INTERVIEW – In this Q&A with Catherine Chabiron, Toyota veteran Isao Yoshino discusses NUMMI, management at the company, and how to change the mindsets of leaders.

Jim Womack on the importance of spreading the lean word

WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – Ahead of the holidays, for his last column of the year, the author reminds us of the power of sharing. Go out and spread the lean word!
Michael Ballé on kaizen

Why real kaizen and innovation start with leadership

FEATURE – Following a visit to a Toyota supplier in Japan, the authors reflect on the nature of kaizen and explain why we might be looking for it in the wrong place.
Green Room hoshin kanri lean hospital

A CEO shows us the Obeya room in his hospital

VIDEO - The CEO of a cancer center in Brazil gives us a tour of the their obeya room, taking us through their strategy deployment and explaining how it supports their mission of reducing the burden of cancer.
womack social heijunka good jobs

Create stable, fulfilling jobs to fully benefit from lean

WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – Toyota’s commitment to employees reminds us that it is impossible to tap into the full potential of lean without providing people with stable, gratifying employment.
lean thinking and Jidoka at Amazon and GE

Marc Onetto on his experience with Jidoka at GE and Amazon

INTERVIEW – Catherine Chabiron sits down with Marc Onetto, a former executive with GE and Amazon, to discuss Jidoka and its profound effects on the way people work and think.
documentary Halfway Toyota lean thinking

The people-led lean turnaround of a chain of car dealerships

DOCUMENTARY – In PL’s first ever documentary, we share the story of a chain of car dealerships in Africa. Watch and learn how people development and lean leadership made for one of the best turnarounds you’ll ever encounter.
Jim Womack on the lean promise

Jim Womack on where lean has failed and why not to give up

YOKOTEN – Lean has changed the world in many ways, even though the original vision of its founding fathers has failed to materialize. Jim discusses why, as a movement, we shouldn’t give up and review our strategy instead.
managing for the future lean thinking

Lean as the management strategy of the future

FEATURE – Lean is a people-centric system for learning that acts as an alternative to traditional management and financial capitalism. It represents the best strategy a company can adopt to meet the needs of the future.
Tracey Richardson lessons Toyota

Tracey Richardson on the deep meaning of standards at Toyota

FEATURE – Through this intimate anecdote from her days at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, the author tells us of her experience with standardization… and of the deep leadership lessons hiding behind it.
Michael Belle how lean works

Michael Ballé reflects on how lean really works

FEATURE – Continuously studying the challenges we meet and the responses we devise, lean gives us endless opportunities to learn. The author goes back to basics, reflecting on some core lean premises.
LGN SIT partnership lean capabilities

An alliance to bring lean capabilities to Singapore

FEATURE – Last year, the Lean Global Network entered a partnership with the Singapore Institute of Technology to bring lean capabilities to local SMEs. Along the way, we discovered an alternative approach to academic teaching.
social basis for lean management

Jim Womack on creating the social basis for lean management

WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – The author looks at hoshin planning, A3 thinking and daily management as the three key elements of a lean management system, and highlights the related behaviors that will allow lean to thrive.
Toyota Australia lean thinking

Jim Womack on the lean shut-down of Toyota Australia

WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – On October 3, Toyota will cease its manufacturing operations in Australia, but the way it is managing the transition - in the leanest way possible - holds great lessons for us all.

Being a learner-in-chief: a lean healthcare leader profiled

PROFILE – Another month, another inspiring profile of a lean practitioner. We were impressed by Dr Billi’s deep conviction in the idea that, first of all, leaders must be learners. You will be too.
financial performance lean SMEs

The impact of lean on the financial performance of an SME

RESEARCH – What kind of financial results can a SME owner expect from a lean transformation? To find out, the author of this interesting research analyzed the performance of 100 Italian small and medium-sized companies.
thinking upside down ballé liker

Why lean thinking challenges our assumptions on management

FEATURE - We often hear that lean is a fundamentally different approach, but what does this really mean? The authors reflect on how lean challenges and debunks our assumptions on how to run a firm, which might also explain why it meets such resistance.
one question idea learned sooner

Five lean practitioners answer the same question #5

ONE QUESTION, FIVE ANSWERS – With this month’s question we try to understand what lean idea or principle our interviewees would have liked to learn sooner or better in their journey. So, heads up… You might be in a similar situation.