Lean Manufacturing / Lean Management – a short history
We wrote about Supply Chain and its history. We spoke extensively about Industry 4.0, Internet of Things and its benefits. We also mentioned Lean, however, we never explained where it came from. As it is an old concept many must have heard the name before. What people might not know is how important Lean is to other management concepts that were created later.
Lean – short introduction
Lean manufacturing or lean production, commonly known as Lean, is a concept that was created in Japan. The creation of Lean is credited to Toyota factories. It is thought that Lean Manufacturing was formed around 1980. However, researchers show that the nucleus of the concept can be seen much earlier. It is indicated that the first signs of waste management and reduction appeared in Benjamin Franklin’s time. He, himself indicated that necessary or outgrown stock is a waste of monies and can create a loss. On the pages of Poor Richard’s Almanack he pointed out:
“A penny saved is two pence clear. A pin a-day is a groat a-year. Save and have.” 
Nevertheless, the concept was named and popularised after it was implemented in Toyota factories as a part of Toyota Production System.
Toyota Production System
The Toyota Production System is a collection of techniques and management tools that are implemented in every aspect of company’s activity. The main goal of this system is to minimalize waste, maximise profit and increase customer satisfaction. The system was developed mainly by Taiichi Ohno and Eiji Toyoda between 1948 and 1975.
The basic concept says that all employees should work towards reducing 3M: muri – overburden; mura – an inconsistency; and muda – waste. In other words, the entire factory processes should eliminate mura (inconsistency) without creating muri (overburden) and generating muda (waste). These basic ground rules helped to shape two important concepts: JIT (Just-in-time) and Jidoka (autonomation). TPS (Toyota Production System) is also a birthplace of Lean Manufacturing.
Toyota’s concepts became popularised around 1960 – 1970 when other factories, impressed with the results, started to copy solutions of Toyota’s factories.
So what exactly is Lean Manufacturing, and why did it become so popular?
Lean Manufacturing, now also known as Lean Management or simply Lean, is not a simplistic solution which can be taken as it is from one company, copied and implemented in another factory or business without any modifications.
Every company that wants to draw benefits from this concept, might take the ground rules but all the processes must be developed individually for a specific business in mind.
The core concept of Lean Manufacturing is to reduce waste while improving a quality of produced goods or services and simultaneously creating better value for customers.
Implementing Lean requires a change of the operation of the entire company. The areas of the company that Lean can be implemented involve transportation, stock handling, overproduction, customer relation and many others.
The process of implementing Lean in a company proves to be so complex that many businesses decide to hire professionals who specialise in Lean Management.
 Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_manufacturing#Lean_implementation_develops_from_TPS