• Dr.Bahtiyar EREN

1. What is the definition of Lean Management?

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

Unfortunately, there is not a single definition used by everyone in the Lean Management literature. In this blog article, a study has been made on the definition of Lean Management.



Let's take a look at the definitions available in the Lean Management Literature.


✒︎ Definition 1: Lean management is the systematic reduction of waste without compromising efficiency in the production system.


✒︎ Definition 2: Lean management is also the elimination of “overload (muri)” and “irregular load (mura) occurring or encountered during the production system.


✒︎ Definition 3: Lean management is also the management of values that the customer is willing to pay for the good and services. (The values should be defined by the customer's point of view.)


✒︎ Definition 4: Lean management is a set of “tools and techniques olan that help identify and continually reduce waste during production and afterwards.


✒︎ Definition 5: Instead of concentrating directly on reducing “waste", Lean Management improves the flow of product or service production from a holistic and system point of view, or regulates and smoothes the work steps in production, resulting in eliminating the waste, overload and irregular loads.


Resource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_manufacturing (Access Date: 05/26/2018)


Lean management is explained in detail based on the several dimensions such as: 1️⃣ Source 2️⃣ Flow and Speed, 3️⃣ Customer, 4️⃣ Employees, 5️⃣ Education, 6️⃣ Waste.


Let's get into the details.


The raw material of lean management is all the resources, opportunities and capabilities of the company.

Companies wishing to implement lean management should be able to use man, material, machine, method, and money resources used in the production of goods and services without any prejudice. If not, he should think he's made a mistake or is on the wrong track.

The goal of lean management is to smooth the flow and increase the speed.

In lean management, all the facilities and capabilities used for the production of goods and services must interact with each other in an order without causing any waste. In order to increase this interaction speed, it is necessary to undergo continuous improvement. To this end, the main objective should be to concentrate on the “value that directly contributes to the goods and services purchased by the customer. Increasing the production speed of products and services is a "Sine Qua Non".

The focal point of lean management is the customer.

Henry Ford, in the 1920s, says "The employer does not pays the salary. The employer is the only intermediary. It is the customer who pays the salaries ”. The Turkish ancestors gave great importance to the customer by saying “Customer is our custody". This gives a guideline to today's executives in order to express bad and poor quality products. Managers should remember that employees are the most important source for success and employees should remember that they work for the customer

The engine of lean management is the employees.

Sakichi Toyoda, owner of the “5 Whys technique" used to identify the root cause of the problems encountered in lean management and solve the problems, stated that lean management is not just a theoretical management technique, it is a practice-based technique, and that the employees are very important in lean management. Employees can partially learn the whole set of lean management techniques on their own. Employees need to be supported both by the senior management in administrative and financial terms, and by the experts in lean management in terms of technical, methodical, knowledge and experience.


The input of lean management is education.

It is essential to educate managers and employees in order to understand and apply the lean management principles and techniques. Lean management is a technique that you can learn yourself if your educational background is appropriate. In general, it is recommended that companies receive professional training support in lean management as there is not enough qualified employees in the companies, or because more effort is required in a shorter time. Charles R. Allen, the owner of the Standard Job Technique, which is one of the lean management techniques, mentioned the importance of the instructor by the saying "If the student did not learn, the teacher did not teach". This emphasizes the importance of professional support in lean management. Similarly, Kaoru Ishikawa, the owner of the “Fishbone Technique", emphasized the importance of education by saying “Quality control starts with education and ends with education”. Training is not an end in itself but a tool and it should be remembered that all trainings are carried out to smooth and accelerate the production flow of goods and services. It should be remembered that accelerating the flow is actually getting rid of wastes that slow down the process.


The backbone of lean management is the prevention of waste.

In order to talk about lean management, it is necessary to build the columns of the lean house. The lean house has four columns. These columns are the determination of waste, measurement of waste, elimination of waste and the protection and development of the new structure. Shiego Shingo, who introduced techniques such as "Poka-Yoka" and "SMED" to the lean literature, aimed to prevent waste by saying “The most dangerous type of waste is the type of waste that we cannot distinguish”. If you know that you are wasting and you are not correcting the waste, it will be useful to remember what Confucius said "If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake."


As a result, a new definition was created in the light of the above information. Lean management is the name of the philosophy and management approach that aims to
(1) Smooth and accelerate the production of “value” that directly contributes to the goods and services that the customer wants and needs,
(2) Eliminate or minimize the waste that arises during production, and
(3) the techniques used to solve the problems encountered during the design, production and afterwards.

You can find more videos about Lean Management both in Turkish and English
on my YouTube Channel "Dr.Bahtiyar EREN".





You can find the detailed information about Lean Management in my book "Lean Management and Techniques: Questions and Answers" published by Yazardan Direkt Publishing House. Please note that the book is in Turkish.


You can order the book from www.amazon.com.tr and http://www.heryerdekitap.com


Please check my webpage www.freeleansixsigma.com for mor information about Lean Six Sigma both in Turkish and English.


Quality is not an act, It is a habit.

Aristotle.

Dr.Bahtiyar EREN


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