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What is Lean?

Lean Manufacturing, or Lean in short, is a way of organizing production. It originated in the period after the Second World War in Japan, where Kiichiro Toyoda, Taiichi Ohno, and others at Toyota designed the Toyota Production System. Based on the principles of Henry Ford’s Mass Production, but faced with shortages on raw materials, capital and an educated workforce, they designed a series of simple adjustments to create a more continuous flow of the product through the individual process steps. This made Toyota capable of producing a high variety, high quality and high throughput times against low costs.

In 1990 this production system was described in the book “The Machine That Changed the World” by James P. Womack, Daniel Roos and Dan Jones. More books and articles about the subject were published. In 1997 the Lean Enterprise Institute was founded. A non profit Lean organization with the mission to develop and advance lean principles, tools and techniques to maximize value and minimize waste. Similar Lean organizations were founded in various countries.

Today Lean is adopted in a wide variety of industries all over the world. It has spread to other industries such as services, retail and healthcare.

Lean is a way of organizing production. Based on 14 principles principles there are tools and techniques developed to facilitate the transition to a Lean organization. The tools vary from very straightforward operational actions to organize a single workplace, to more complex processes as strategy deployment and management systems. 

Lean is to do more with less and less and less. It focuses on doing only the things that add value from a customer perspective and eliminate everything else from the process. It makes a value stream transparent and surfaces problems. It provides techniques to solve the problems and learn to get better and better. It provides tools to control every aspect of the process and rapidly switch when the demand changes. It values people and makes everybody responsible for their work and for the success of the company as a whole. 

Le Maire Lean starts at the basis. It has developed a system to help an organization realise the power of Lean. A typical Lean transformation doubles capacity and at the same time reducing the required resources by half.


Le Maire Lean S.R.L. - Buenos Aires -  Tel. (0054-911) 6846 2605