Exploring the myths of Lean


January 2019

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Groundbreaking when introduced, the Lean approach originates from Toyota’s car production in the 1990s. Over the years, Lean has become a common management approach, which also brings about a lot of interpretations of what it means “to be Lean”.

The notion of Lean originates from Toyota Production System (TPS). It was made famous in the 1990s by Womack and Jones and the publishing of the books, "The Machine That Changed the World" and "Lean Thinking".

From car production to management philosophy

In the 1990s, Toyota’s new approach to producing cars was groundbreaking, and their subsequent success made Lean one of the hottest topics of management philosophy in the late 20th century – not only in production, but in service and administration as well.

Many wanted the same benefits that Toyota experienced. Therefore, companies and organisations both in the production and service industries adopted the same methods and tools that Toyota used. And thus, Lean has become popular across various sectors and industries all over the world.

Some myths of what it means “to be Lean”

When we work with customers, especially in service and administrative environments, we are often confronted with a lot of different definitions and approaches to Lean. We are met with arguments of why Lean definitely always works and why Lean never works. And we hear many different explanations of what it means “to be Lean”.

The purpose of exploring “the myths of Lean” is to inspire you as a reader and to kill some of the most common misconceptions and myths regarding Lean, which we hear when working with our customers.