Lean is a strategy for achieving significant improvement in performance through the continuous elimination of all wasted resources and time in the total business process. It focuses on the elimination of the root causes of the non-value added activities rather than focusing on reducing the time to carry out the value adding work. It can be used by both manufacturing and service organizations.
Lean thinking can be summarized into five key components: value specification, value stream identification, value flow, pull value and peruse perfection. This classification describes how the lean management system works starting from specifying the value and moving forward until continuously perusing perfection. A Lean process must be fast and flexible in order to deliver products and services to the exact needs of the customer.
Lean has many techniques that can be applied to operations and projects. These techniques allow to map out the value stream, identify and eliminate waste, produce value to the customer and drive organizational change. These techniques can be used in isolation or together. The benefits will significantly increase, however, as more techniques are used since they support and reinforce each other.