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.

 

An interview with lean pioneer Freddy Ballé

An interview with lean thinking pioneer Freddy Ballé

INTERVIEW – Having started to explore TPS in the mid-1970s, Freddy Ballé is one of the great pioneers of our movement. Here, he shares what he learned about Toyota over the past 40 years.
the lean employer jim womack

Jim Womack on what makes for a good lean employer

WOMACK’S YOKOTEN – What does a lean employer look like? In this month’s column, the author reflects on the long-term commitment to employees a company engaged in lean thinking should make.
lean learning cross fertilization

Learning from one another accelerates our lean progress

FEATURE – By bringing organizations together to regularly share updates on their lean journeys, Instituto Lean Management has managed to create a flourishing lean healthcare community in Catalunya. But hospitals aren't the only ones benefitting.
Toyota Australia Altona closure lean thinking

How we secured a future for employees at Toyota Australia

FEATURE – Last year’s shut-down of Toyota’s Altona plant in Australia moved us all. Here, the former Divisional Manager of Manufacturing offers a first-hand account of how the company made the most of a terrible situation.
car dealership lean leadership

Changing our dealership to changes lives in the township

FEATURE – The principal of the Halfway Ottery dealership explains how their lean culture based on respect and improvement is not only changing the business, but transforming the lives of people in the townships.
analysing traditional management

Mainstream management after decades of lean

FEATURE – Lean has now been around for quite some time, and its impact on business world is hard to dispute. But what does it tell us about traditional management practices?
MAS Holdings creating a lean culture

Supporting Sri Lankan society by transforming our company

INTERVIEW – Prior to his talk at this year’s Lean Transformation Summit, the CEO of a large apparel manufacturer tells us about the company’s lean journey, and its impact on Sri Lankan 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.