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An implementation is simply the act of putting a plan into effect. It can also refer to a change in a strategy or a system.

In continuous improvement, the term ‘implementation’ commonly refers to Lean as a whole, or can mean implementing the system-based tools, such as pull, kanban, or standard work.

The term ‘Lean implementation’ means to put Lean principles in place in an organization. Despite the frequent use of this term, most Lean practitioners agree that Lean is a journey that has no real end. An implementation, in contrast, has a definitive completion. Reconcile the two by considering an implementation finished when an organization is capable of continuing its Lean journey under its own power. Simply put, once the organization has a trained leadership team, a workforce that accepts Lean, internal expertise (or access to a trusted consultant), and widespread use of the most common tools, Lean can be considered implemented. Of course, even after implementation, there will always be room for improvement.


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