Lean Success
Lean Success Company Contact Links Free Downloads



Lean Success is based on world-class performance in the key performance areas - quality, productivity, profit, and human development.

Lean Success starts with knowing what to do.

  • Lean Leaders contribute through Strategy Deployment. They look to the future, guiding the organization through their understanding of markets, customers, technology, and associates. They ensure the right things get done in the organization.
  • Lean Managers contribute through Value Stream Management and Problem Solving (A3 Thinking). They implement the Lean Strategy in the work place, and clear away the difficulties through targeted improvement and the use of appropriate technology.
  • Lean Supervisors contribute through Standard Work and Kaizen. They ensure that the Lean Strategy is carried out daily, through Standard Work and continuous improvement activities.


Lean Success is based on the principles of First Things First

  • Customer first – WHO we serve

  • Value first – WHAT we attend to

  • Real first – WHERE we work

  • Simplicity first – HOW we do things

  • Action first – WHEN we do things

  • People first – WHY we come to work

Lean Success starts at the beginning. Why you start the lean journey, where you want to go.

There are models for lean success – Toyota and Canon easily come to mind. Your company is different in significant ways, your history is different, your people have a different background, times are different. You need your own vision and rationale for your lean journey. Lean Theory is not, by itself, capable of inspiring and guiding a successful lean journey.

Lean Vision – This is what will guide and sustain your lean effort. A vision is a mental image of the future. To be a guiding vision, it must be specific (a clear image of walking through your lean factory, for example), provide an immediate answer when you ask “what should I do now?”, and be positive and exciting (help you keep doing the right things when times are difficult or uncertain).

Developing your lean vision – walk in your offices and factory, and look at what is going on. Imagine the calmness and regular activities of a lean future. You might visit other companies who are well on their way to the lean enterprise – what surprises you, what excites you, will help you to create a clear, actionable vision for your own company.

Lean Communication – Communication is really a part of developing the organization to become a learning, problem solving, continuously improving organization. Communication is a part of gathering everyone around the Lean Vision, and developing the vision so everyone can participate in it (this is called Consideration), and showing everyone how to participate (this is called Cooperation). Finally, communication is a call to action (this is called Commitment). We often refer to this aspect of the lean approach as 3C+C.

Lean Training – It is important to understand the elements of lean – the basic theory of the two pillars (cost reduction and respect for people), the lean wastes and the use of the lean toolbox for waste elimination, the lean supply chain and customer satisfaction. It is equally important to understand how this applies to your business – how to implement the basics, how to assess your needs and how to select and implement countermeasures to your problems, how to work with suppliers and customers to create a lean value chain. As with any journey into the unknown, there is an element of the “leap of faith”. But we suggest that you learn before you leap.

Learning Lean – Real learning is experiential and never ends. The start of the lean journey is at the model work center. With a clear vision for lean, the model work center is where the techniques and technologies of lean are tried out. It might be a machine, a line, or even a factory. The model work center is transformed by scaling the lean pyramid.

Still waiting to start your improvement program, because there is always something else that needs doing now?  Read the woodcutter story.

© Gardiner Nielsen Associates Inc.                                       

Last modified on November 21, 2008