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What is Lean?

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Henry Ford defined the lean concept in one sentence: “We will not put into our establishment anything that is useless.”

Lean manufacturing is a system of techniques and activities for running a manufacturing or service operation. The techniques and activities differ according to the application at hand but they have the same underlying principle: the elimination of all non-value-adding activities and waste from the business.

Lean enterprise extends this concept through the entire value stream or supply chain: The leanest factory cannot achieve its full potential if it has to work with non-lean suppliers and subcontractors.

Types of Waste

  1. Overproduction
  2. Waiting, time in queue
  3. Transportation
  4. Non-value-adding processes
  5. Inventory
  6. Motion
  7. Costs of quality: scrap, rework and inspection

Excerpted from William A. Levinson and Raymond A. Rerick, Lean Enterprise: A Synergistic Approach to Minimizing Waste, ASQ Quality Press, 2002, pages xiii-xiv, 38.

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