A name given to a range of techniques and methodologies originally developed in the manufacturing industry (Toyota). The principle behind these techniques is to reduce waste in processes. The idea is to do this by focusing on the value adding elements of a process, and reduce everything else.
Practitioners aim to achieve results through the introduction of continual improvement and refinement of processes, carried out by a group of empowered business owners. There are a series of key principles that underpin a range of methods focused around the ability to define a simple product with specific processing tasks to produce it and the adoption of the scientific method to develop changes to the product.
The name is a reference to the lower amount of fat found in lean foods. It is not to do with lean strategists and practitioners spending their time leaning against walls pointing out the faults of others in the hope that it will reduce waste and lead to continual improvement.
Disagree or want to add something? What does Lean mean to you?