Lean Manufacturing in a nutshell

What is it?

Lean manufacturing is a system that is focused on creating value for the customer by providing high quality products with zero defects.

Managers encourage and empower employees to eliminate waste, seek better solutions and solve problems on their own.

Why use it?

Imagine you are the manager of a car manufacturer. Profit is low, you are buying too many parts and customer satisfaction reports below your objectives. You are thinking about firing employees and buying cheaper parts. In short, you don’t know what to do.

With lean management principles, you can solve these issues for your business and achieve long-term improvement.


The four principles include:

  1. pull – focus on the customer. The customers’ needs should pull the production process along. 
  2. one-piece flow – focus on one piece at a time to eliminate distractions. 
  3. takt – assess how fast you need to manufacture a product to meet the customer needs.
  4. zero defects – empower employees to improve the production process. Address all problems at the root and implement long-term solutions.


Increased, long-term profitability, revenue, customer satisfaction and quality. Reduce errors, cost and waste.

Concepts of interest are:

«The Inernal Customer». Invented by Hewlett Packard, the internal customer is a business strategy in which the entire process and product design is focused on the needs of the customer. There are a set of seven questions you can ask when designing and manufacturing to ensure the process revolves around the internal customer.

«Customer First«.  Established by Toyota Motors, the CF principle is so engrained in their production system that they have committees, audits and employee handbooks dedicated to listening to the voice of the customer.

«Just in Time«. This is a key component of lean manufacturing by reducing inventory. It means that products should be ordered and produced at the exact amount and moment they are needed, so to eliminate waste.

Customer Satisfaction is one of the ten areas of the QC100 Model of Total Quality Management, a technical tool developed by Business Initiative Directions (BID) for the management of communication structures between a company and its clients, suppliers and employees. QC stands for ‘commitment to quality’.

2 thoughts on “Lean Manufacturing in a nutshell

  1. Pingback: Toyota’s 8-Step Problem-Solving Method | The Quality Blog

  2. Pingback: Toyota Motors: The King of Total Quality Management | The Quality Blog

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