Lean is a set of management practices that produces value for customers quickly through a focus on reducing delays and eliminating waste, which results in increased quality and lower cost.
Lean is founded on two pillars: respect for people and continuous improvement. Lean is a never-ending cycle of the elimination of waste, coupled with a commitment to total customer satisfaction, a total commitment to quality and a total commitment to employee involvement.
The Lean methodology was first developed in the 1950s, by Taiichi Ohno at Toyota (then known as the Toyota Production System). One of the system’s major innovations is that workers were seen as problem solvers who are trained and empowered to improve their processes and eliminate waste.
Since the 1950s, the use of the Lean methodology has moved beyond manufacturing and now includes just about any part of a business or organization. Lean methods are now applied to offices, service companies, and even churches.