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Lean Essentials, What is it and why is it popular?

April 21, 2008
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Lean. The Toyota Production System. Waste Elimination. Process/Continuous Improvement. All are used synonymously with Lean throughout the world. Lean is a compilation of world-class practices.

The purpose of Lean practices is to eliminate all waste or non-valued added activities from a process. The continued focus on the elimination of waste should be a daily, hourly or minute by minute review. Lean is not meant to eliminate people, but to use them most wisely. With that thought in mind, work elements or job duties may need to be modified to accommodate a waste-free (Lean) environment. This will allow companies to remain globally competitive, with a cross-trained workforce.

Lean is based on reducing costs rather than raising prices.

The essential Lean tools are used to:

* Identify and eliminate waste quickly and efficiently.
* Increase communication at all levels of the organization.
* Reduce costs, improve quality and delivery in a safe environment.
* Begin improvements immediately and empower workers to make improvements themselves.

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