The core idea of Lean is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. Simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.
A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. No matter what business I walk into or what problem I face, I will always turn to Lean principles to help me find solutions. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste. Our goal is waste elimination, but the journey ALWAYS leads to dramatic, quantifiable profitability improvement.
To accomplish this, lean thinking changes the focus of management from optimizing separate technologies, assets, and vertical departments to optimizing the flow of products and services through entire value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets, and departments to customers.
Eliminating waste along entire value streams, instead of at isolated points, creates processes that need less human effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make products and services at far less costs and with much fewer defects (errors), compared with traditional business systems. Companies are able to respond to changing customer desires with high variety, high quality, low cost, and with very fast throughput times. Also, information management and data flow becomes much simpler and more accurate.
Lean for Production and Services
A popular misconception is that lean is suited only for manufacturing. Not true. Lean applies in every business and every process. In technology data flows, in human services people flow, and in manufacturing product flows. It is not a tactic or a cost reduction program, but a way of thinking and acting for an entire organization that is simple and very effective.