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5 Principles of Lean

Lean principles are the guiding concepts that drive the basic behaviors of an organization. While many Lean advocates create their unique set of principles, the most famous were first presented by James Womack and Daniel Jones in their book Lean Thinking.

The 5 Principles of Lean

  1. Specify value. This is a critical step. To serve customers well, you have to understand how they define good performance. A common mistake is making assumptions about what customers actually value, and then doing the wrong things.
  2. Identify the value stream. Once you understand what it is that your customer needs from you, it is important to gain understanding of how you deliver that value. The path from raw materials (or information) to a delivery to a customer is known as the value stream.
  3. Establish flow. Flow is simply the ability of work to move through a system without stopping. The biggest reason flow is disrupted is when items are batched and have to sit in a queue.
  4. Implement pull. In pull, work is only sent when it is requested by the downstream operator. If they don’t need something, you don’t produce it.
  5. Seek perfection. This is the philosophical aspect to Lean. You will never achieve perfection because there is always a way to improve a process. It can be frustrating to some to seek something they will never attain.

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