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A factory is a discrete building or group of buildings that produces a product or product line.

The first image that comes to mind with the term factory is often a car manufacturing facility, like those run by Toyota (a company well-known for its Lean manufacturing).

In reality, a factory can be a small building with just a few people in it doing a manual process. A factory is defined by its purpose, not its structure.

Many factories use traditional batch manufacturing processes, but an increasing number are implementing Lean practices instead.

Lean has its origins in the factory, making processes and materials flow more smoothly through the value stream. It has since spread into the office, retail, healthcare, construction, and more. But even with the differences in all those industries, the lessons learned in the factory about eliminating waste and providing value to the customer have carried over.

For more information, check out this short, animated Lean vs. batch manufacturing video to learn more about the differences between the two methods used on the factory floor.

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