Lean Production Definition.

How we see the Lean Production definition.


When you say Lean Production, you think Toyota.

It is recognised to be one of the best company in the world.

This worldwide reputation is based on a

Lean Production System named TPS.

Toyota Production System.

This system was created to give value to

  • Customer

  • Employees

  • Products

In the next rows, we will distill for you what does it means Lean.



The 5 core values of the Toyota Way.


The Toyota philosophy contains 5 core values:

  • Genchi Gembutsu (Go See!)
  • Kaizen
  • Challenge
  • Teamwork
  • Respect

These values are shared and get into practice by all
Toyota Team Members

The early stage was made in 1918 by Sakichi Toyoda on the looms.


it is recognised that the main architect of the TPS was

Taichi Ohno in 1958.

He got the inspiration by the American supermarkets where the customer can find on the shelves the goods 100% of the time and the shelves are always replenished on time.

The customer can choose the exact product he wants in the exact quantity he wants.

This is the base of lean production.

The product starts only when the customer places an order.

When the production starts, the parts arrive in the factory just in time.

The House of Toyota.

The house of Toyota has its foundation and pillars.

We created a video to explain them.


First Pillar - Just In Time

To regulate the just in time into production is fundamental to have a Kanban System.


to set the pace of the production,

every step has to work at the rhythm of the

Takt Time.

The base is the stability of the line that is

reached by the Heijunka.

Value and Waste

The Lean Production is mainly based on

the waste reduction.

These wastes are categorised as seven wastes.

The waste is called in Japanese MUDA.

When there is no MUDA it is possible to produce without

- Individual
- Workforce
- Machines


when there is no overburden or daily change in the schedule
everyone can concentrate on their task with good quality.

Second Pillar - Jidoka

Jidoka means: "Make abnormalities visible."

Everyone of the team can stop the line by Andon.

You can find the definition in our Lean Manufacturing Terms.

If there is any potential problem, the team give a signal in the Andon Board and the team members goes on the place to analyse the problem for a solution.

This is also called: Genchi Gembutsu

The Standardization is intrinsic in the Lean Production Definition.

The Jidoka enabled Toyota to have products:

  1. Reliable
  2. Durable
  3. High Quality


the lean production system allows better productivity, with a greater return on investments.

The Foundation of the Lean Production System

You can find a different interpretation of the base of the house.

Could be:

  1. Stability
  2. Heijunka
  3. Kaizen


    or others.

It depends on the book and the writer.

Here you can find more information on Leveling Heijunka.

In this page, we will speak about Kaizen.


The Kaizen is also called

Continuous Improvement


How build the culture of Kaizen?

You need to set a regular meeting where all the team member are

encouraged to propose ideas for the improvement.

It is natural that this kind of meeting create Teamwork.

A must see video is:

>> 5 Steps to Lean Management.


To give you an idea, in a factory can be proposed and considered

3000 ideas / year

In other words,

if you set the right soils, the ideas grow.

This is why the TPS is also called:

Thinking People System

If all the team members are engaged, this leads to "Respect".

One of the best ways to build respect is to have a wide use of the

5S methodology.

We prepared a BONUS for you!

A slideshow on 5S.


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As you can find in this post from WhatIsLean.org and AllAboutLean.com
it is not easy to give a unique Lean Production Definition.

We like to refer to the Toyota's house and on the book of Ohno.

You can choose the definition you like the most according to the core values.

We suggest reading these other articles to have a wider point of view.

  1. Lean.org
  2. Lean Production explained to a friend
  3. What is Lean Manufacturing.

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