What Is Lean Methodology? Definition and Benefits

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Mar 25, 2022

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Lean Methodology emphasizes eliminating waste and increasing efficiency to offer more value to consumers. Its wide application to processes in enterprises of any size as a philosophical approach is because it assists organizations in achieving their objectives in a healthier, more intelligent, and environmentally sustainable manner. Improved speed and overall quality throughout the manufacturing process and improvements in the factors that affect delivery – all in an attempt to eventually give value to consumers – are all possible via lean management. 

What is Lean Methodology?

Lean is a business model that encourages the flow of value to the customer through two guiding principles: continual improvement and respect for individuals. When compared to its competitors, a company that implements lean principles is much more adaptable to its constantly changing environment because of the systematic and ongoing learning that is fostered by lean thinking and behaviour.

At its foundation, the lean methodology continues to encourage responsible decision-making, better access to information, and a strong focus on giving customer value. However, it is continually changing as industries, products, and consumer needs evolve. Lean-adopting businesses are constantly seeking ways to maximize their people, resources, efforts, and energy. This enables them to develop stronger, more enduring organisations while producing goods and services in a more sustainable manner.

Fundamentals of Lean Methodology

Given below are the five main lean principles of the lean process:

  • Identifying Value: Recognize what consumers look for in a good or service. Finding the work value of the team is the first step in building a lean process. You must differentiate between value-adding and wasteful operations. This should be a group effort since it is essential that everyone is in agreement on it. 
  • Map Value Stream: What goes into maximizing value and removing waste throughout the entire process, from design to production, is known as a value stream. To establish a Lean process, you should concentrate on value-adding stages while mapping your value stream for the first time. As your procedure develops, make sure to make corrections as necessary. 
  • Create Flow: The bottlenecks in your process are a significant barrier to establishing a fluid flow. You should keep an eye on how things go through your workflow as a manager. Keep a close eye on any areas where tasks become stuck so you can investigate the cause. For just-in-time manufacturing to be successful, a smooth process flow is one of the prerequisites.
  • Pull: The concept of "pull," which states that nothing is produced before it is required, enables flow and shortens delivery cycles. A dependable workflow ensures that your teams can complete job assignments considerably more quickly and with less effort than otherwise. However, it is essential to establish a pull system to ensure a steady workflow for the lean process. When working in such a system, work is only pulled if and when there is a demand.
  • Perfection: Constantly apply the problem-solving process as you relentlessly strive for perfection. Organizations that adopt lean processes also embrace the concept of continual improvement. They are always looking for new and innovative methods to minimize waste, enhance efficiency, improve goods, and provide more value to the customer experience. Companies' desire for perfection encourages them to use increasingly stringent measuring techniques

What Makes the Lean Methodology Unique?

Although increasing productivity might seem like a universal goal, lean methodology is special since it starts with the needs of the client. Lean methodology is a paradigm for ensuring that customer value is a primary focus at every stage of the business, rather than boosting the bottom line for the sake of doing so.

However, this does not imply that worker happiness and well-being are not important. It does not also presuppose that human beings are more essential than production efficiency.

Processes that lead to burnout, exhaustion, or foster discord amongst employees or levels of the company are just as problematic as poor equipment, if not more so. Lean pushes business executives to view efficiency as a whole, putting people and results first.

It's possible that what was appreciated yesterday won't be valued tomorrow. Lean methodology establishes a foundation for continuous adaptation to standards that are constantly changing for you, your company, and your goods and services.

Why Should You Choose Lean Methodology?

After going over the fundamentals of lean, there is only one question left to be addressed: Why Should You Choose Lean Methodology?

Lean requires a complete revision of your business philosophy. All members of your organization use it to make wiser judgements while navigating the workplace. The guiding idea of Lean is "does your decision provide value?" Starting from time management to cash allocation can be done using this technique.

Lean also provides organizations with a framework for achieving their objectives. With Lean, you'll always know why you're moving even if you don't always know the direction your business needs to move.

In fact, by providing teams a sense of direction, lean can make even the most dysfunctional teams into top performers.

The Advantages of Lean Management

What managers can benefit from learning lean management- 

Focus: It is possible to eliminate waste by using the Lean approach in your business operations. Because of this, your personnel will be concentrated on tasks that provide value to the organization.

Identifying and Taking Advantage of Opportunities for Improvement: All workers are potential sources of ideas for good change in Lean since improvement is a bottom-up process that involves all employees. 

Productivity and efficiency are being improved: It is easier for workers to be productive and efficient if they focus on creating value rather than being distracted by ambiguous assignments.

Structure: By offering a system for improvement initiatives, Lean assists businesses in managing more improvement projects and completing them more efficiently. Lean provides a common language that makes it simpler for cross-functional teams to communicate and collaborate to optimize operations. Many Lean techniques, such as PDSA and Kanban boards, are often used to plan and visualize improvement efforts. All Lean efforts are supported by Lean software. 

Learning That Never Ends: Lean companies try to learn from each improvement project to build up a collective body of knowledge within the team over time. Lean software is beneficial in this endeavour since it serves as a repository for all information. Group members may search for comparable projects accomplished in the past and take away suggestions for what to do and pitfalls to avoid for their initiatives.

The more intelligent process (pull system): Using a pull system, you will be able to supply work only when there is a genuine need for your services. As a result, the following one follows.

Improved use of resources: When your production is based on actual demand, you will be able to employ only as many resources as necessary to meet that need.

Lean Methodology Examples

Kimberly-Clark: Ongoing Development

Even with established budgets, it may frequently be challenging for firms to adhere to them, especially when it comes to operations. Kimberly-Clark believed that the cost of their transportation management system was excessive (TMS). The business felt that its analysts were wasting too much time attempting to use the system and were not thereby benefiting the business.

Printing Sector

Long lead times and late orders plagued a printing company. Inventory accumulated in its warehouse while more than 10% of the finished product was discarded. A lean team was put together to map the value stream and find waste that might be eliminated from the workflow in order to increase efficiency. Prior to implementing cellular manufacturing technologies, 5S (visual workplace) was also used to maximize workflow.

Storage Management

Large quantities of raw materials were utilized by a producer in an incoming warehouse. Three full-time material stagers who unloaded, stored, and delivered the supplies to assembly lines as needed to be added to the high operational costs.


The increasing popularity of the Lean principles may be attributed to the fact that they genuinely concentrate on improving every part of a work process and engage all levels of a company's hierarchy in their implementation. You can learn more about this concept through our Six Sigma Green Belt Certification.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 lean methodologies?

The Lean technique is based on 3 fundamental concepts:

  • Deliver value based on the needs of your customers.
  • Getting rid of waste (items that don't add value to the finished product)
  • ongoing development

Is Agile a Lean methodology?

No, agile is a framework not any methodology.

Is Lean Six Sigma a methodology?

By lowering the likelihood of error, the Six Sigma collection of management tools and procedures is intended to increase the capability of the business process. Six Sigma is a data-driven approach that uses statistical techniques to eliminate defects, reduce defects, and increase revenue.

What are the 5 steps of lean?

The five main lean principles of the lean process:

  • Identifying Value
  • Map value stream
  • Create flow
  • Pull
  • Perfection

What is a Six Sigma process?

A collection of management strategies called Six Sigma aims to make corporate processes more capable by cutting down on the likelihood of mistakes. Six Sigma is a method that analyzes and minimises faults or flaws by using statistics and data analysis. By extending cycle times, this strategy seeks to reduce manufacturing problems to no more than 3.4 per million units or events.

What are the 7 roles of Six Sigma?

1. Executive

2. Champion

3. Master Black Belt

4. Black Belt

5. Green Belt

6. Yellow Belt

7. White Belt

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