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What is Lean Management ? Well, be surprised, there is not a single definition that a majority could really agree on ! The system has not ceased to develop and improve in recent decades. I will highlight some elements and present the range of tools and concepts among which it will be necessary to establish a sequencing at the time of implementation. An adaptation to the environment in which it is deployed is desirable.

Some definitions

« Create more and more value with less and less. That is, less time, less space, less effort and fewer mistakes. » – J.P.Womack

« Lean is a system that aims to deliver maximum value at the lowest cost, as quickly as possible, by using the just necessary resources to provide customers with what they value. » – C.Hohmann

« A management philosophy where the focus is set on meeting customer needs, delivering quality, eliminating waste and producing at the rate of the demand. » – P.Dapoz

« A management method that aims to improve the performance of the company through the development of all employees. The method makes it possible to find the ideal operating conditions by making people, equipment and sites work together so as to add value with the least possible waste. » – M.Ballé

The 5 principles of lean management

  • Define Value : Identify activities that add value to your product or service in the eyes of the customer. The ones for which he is willing to pay. Identify the operations that he would deem ineffective, useless or that he would’nt pay for.
  • Describe the flow of value : Map the sequence of operations as they really occur. Look the complete process, without stopping at the organizational boundaries, without forgetting steps.
  • Encourage Flow : Make sure all the operations follow each other  smoothly, without interruption, delay or obstruction.
  • Pull the feeds : Do not start production nor a service task until the customer explicitly requests for it. Make the exact amount, no more!
  • Strive for perfection : Continue to research problems and implement solutions. Day after day, year after year, the improvement process of must never stop.





The basics

Ensure that equipment and work methods are reliable

  • TPM – Total Productive Maintenance – Ensure machines are working properly
  • Standard Work – Defining the best ways to work
  • Visual Management – Make things visible : objectives, performance, standards, defects
  • One point lesson
  • 5S – Maintain a pleasant and efficient work environment suitable for fault detection

Flow management

Ensure that flows are smooth and track customer demand

  • Just in time
  • Pulled stream – Kanban
  • Takt time – Prodution rate that satisfies the demand
  • Small lot size or one piece flow
  • SMED – Reduced change over time
  • Work cells layout optimisation
  • Load balancing and operator cross-training


Produce quality the first time – Aim towards « zero defects »

  • Poka-Yoke – Error proofing systems
  • Andon – Stop upon discovery of a defect and fix the issue immediately
  • Self-control
  • Autonomation – Free man from the constrain of the machine
  • Problem Solving – FMEA –  5 Why – Ishikawa Diagram – 8D

Continuous improvement

Develop a spirit for continualy highlighting problems and fixing issues quickly

  • Gemba walk – Shopfloor visit
  • Kaizen blitz – Problem solving
  • 7 wastes
  • Value stream mapping
  • Theory of contraints
  • A3 report
  • Voice of the customer

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19, rue de Lumechon

7160 - Godarville - Belgium

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+32 488 34 85 33

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