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Lean History

Lean History: Where did Lean Start?

If you go with conventional wisdom, Lean started in Toyota with the advent of then Toyota Production System. Taiichi Ohno is considered the father of modern Lean by many.

If you open yourself up to a broader view, Lean history starts a few thousand years earlier, and the father of Lean was an early man on the African plains.

This crudely formed scraper embodies the Lean spirit. It was an effort to reduce waste in a process to provide a better finished product to a customer.

The Lean office was not far behind in Lean’s History.

Again, early man wanted to get better at transferring information, so came up with a better way of communication. This required the development of pigments and the use of a variety of implements to paint the pictures.

Other notable achievements deserve their place in the annals of Lean history.

The earliest windmills appeared over a thousand years ago in Persia and started the process of separating people from machines.

The assembly line showed up long before Henry Ford improved it. The earliest example of a large-scale assembly line was in the Venetian Arsenal about five hundred years ago.

Another highlight in Lean history came with the invention of interchangeable parts in the late 1700’s. Eli Whitney later polished up the concept and gets a lot of credit for its popularization.

Modern Lean history, though, began about the turn of the century, and follows the familiar path through Toyota and Taiichi Ohno.

The next milestone in Lean history could be in your company. Contact us at Info@Velaction.com or at 1.800.670.5805 to learn more about how to improve your Lean operation.

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