Sustainable Growth:

Efficiency Improvement

Lean Production

Doing More With Less

Vadim Kotelnikov personal logo Vadim Kotelnikov

Founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach – Inspiration and Innovation Unlimited!

"A good solution can be successfully applied to almost any problem." ~ Big Al's Law 




The Seven Wastes To Be Eliminated

  1. Overpoduction

  2. Waiting

  3. Transportation

  4. Inventory

  5. Motion

  6. Over-processing

  7. Defective units ... More

Example of a Lean Value Chain

Lean System Components and Best Practices

  1. Cultural awareness

  2. Workplace organization – 5S (sort – straighten – sweep – standardize – self-discipline) & visual control

  3. Standardized work

  4. Flexible operations

  5. Employee empowerment and continuous improvement

  6. Quick changeover capability

  7. Total quality management & total productivity maintenance

  8. Error proofing

  9. Material control

  10. Level production

7 Principles of Toyota Production System (TPS)

  1. Reduced Setup Times

  2. Small-Lot Production

  3. Employee Involvement and Empowerment

  4. Quality at the Source

  5. Equipment Maintenance

  6. Pull Production

  7. Supplier Involvement... More

The Toyota Way: 14 Principles


Key Features of Lean Production

 compared to Traditional Mass Production

  • Reduced Setup Cost and Times (for semi-versatile machinery such as big stamping presses) – from months to hours thus making small-lot production economically viable; achieved by organizing procedures, using carts, and training workers to do their own setups,.. More



Strategy of Lean Production

20-second exercise for your computer-tired eyes

Enabling a Lean Approach: The Five Elements

As defined by James Womack and Daniel Jones5

  1. Specify Value. Value is defined by the ultimate customer’s needs through tools such as value management, quality function deployment and simulation... More

Eight Attributes of Corporate Success

By Peters and Waterman

Lean Manufacturing

Lean vs. Traditional Manufacturing

Key Features of Lean Production

Characteristics of Lean Manufacturing Systems

7 Wastes

3 Broad Types of Wastes

Enabling a Lean Approach: 5 Elements


Just-in-Time (JIT) Manufacturing

Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF)

3 Basic Principles of Continuous Improvement

Kaizen – the Japanese Strategy of Continuous Improvement

Quick and Easy Kaizen

Kaizen and Total Quality Management (TQM)

Kaizen and Radical Innovation

The Toyota Way: 14 Principles

Glossary – Kaizen & Lean Production

Suggestion Systems

Japanese Suggestion System

Fun4Biz Suggestion System

Value Chain Management

Employee Empowerment

Supply Chain Management


Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Case Studies

Toyota Production System (TPS)

7 Principles of Toyota Production System (TPS)

Gold Seal Engineering Ltd. (India)

Rojee Tasha Stamping Ltd. (India)

Thara Engineering (India)


What is Lean Production?

Lean is about doing more with less: less time, inventory, space, labor, and money. "Lean manufacturing", a shorthand for a commitment to eliminating waste, simplifying procedures and speeding up production. The idea is to pull inventory through based on customer demand.

Lean Manufacturing (also known as the Toyota Production System) is, in its most basic form, the systematic elimination of waste – overproduction, waiting, transportation, inventory, motion, over-processing, defective units – and the implementation of the concepts of continuous flow and customer pull.

Five areas drive lean manufacturing/production:

  1. cost

  2. quality

  3. delivery

  4. safety, and

  5. morale.

Just as mass production is recognized as the production system of the 20th century, lean production is viewed as the production system of the 21st century. In fact, the processes involved in lean are ideal for any business whose inventory accumulates in buffer stocks.

Benefits of Lean Production

Establishment and mastering of a lean production system would allow you to achieve the following benefits:

  • Waste reduction by 80%

  • Production cost reduction by 50%

  • Manufacturing cycle times decreased by 50%

  • Labor reduction by 50% while maintaining or increasing throughput

  • Inventory reduction by 80% while increasing customer service levels

  • Capacity in current facilities increase by 50%

  • Higher quality

  • Higher profits

  • Higher system flexibility in reacting to changes in requirements improved

  • More strategic focus

  • Improved cash flow through increasing shipping and billing frequencies

However, by continually focusing on waste reduction, there are truly no end to the benefits that can be achieved.

A Management Philosophy

Toyota perfected lean manufacturing in the 1990s, and now the concept is being put to use in other areas, such as organizational structures, distribution and logistics.

Though books have been written detailing the steps to achieving lean manufacturing and many manufacturers have tried to emulate Toyota's success, few have actually done so. Why? Because they have failed to adopt lean manufacturing as a management philosophy that encompasses the entire organization. Instead, they see it only as a departmental solution.

Basic Elements of Lean Manufacturing

The basic elements are waste elimination, continuous one piece workflow, and customer pull. When these elements are focused in the areas of cost, quality and delivery, this forms the basis for a lean production system.

The lean production concept was to a large extent inspired by the Kaizen – the Japanese strategy of continuous improvement. Employee empowerment and promotion among them of a way of thinking oriented at improving processes, imitation of customer relationships, fast product development and manufacturing, and collaboration with suppliers are the key strategies of leading lean companies.

Five Ss The Five Ss refer to the five dimensions of of workplace optimization: Seiri (Sort), Seiton (Set in order), Seiso (Shine), Seiketsu (Standardize), and Shitsuke (Sustain).

Lean Production Overview

  • Non-value added activities or waste are eliminated through continuous improvement efforts

  • Focus on continuous improvement of processes – rather than results – of the entire value chain

  • The lean manufacturing mindset: concept, way of thinking – not techniques; culture – not the latest management tool

  • Continuous product flow is achieved through physical rearrangement and system structure & control mechanisms

  • Single-piece flow / small lot production: achieved through equipment set up time reduction; attention to machine maintenance; and orderly, clean work place

  • Pull reduction / Just-in-Time inventory control


Lean techniques are applicable not only in manufacturing, but also in service-oriented industry and service environment. Every system contains waste, i.e. something that does not provide value to your customer. Whether you are producing a product, processing a material, or providing a service, there are elements which are considered 'waste'. The techniques for analyzing systems, identifying and reducing waste, and focusing on the customer are applicable in any system, and in any industry.

Lean thinking may also be applied for getting rid of bureaucracy in your home office. To run your home office more effectively and faster you may need just as little as 10% of its current staff. Only executives who have a direct involvement with finding, keeping, or growing customers as well as key support staff – accountants, tax, legal and human resources people – should stay. Others can be rehabilitated by sending to an operating unit.

Characteristics of Lean Manufacturing Systems

  • Close integration of the whole value chain from raw material to finished product through partnership oriented relations with suppliers and distributors.

  • Team based work organizations with multi skilled operators empowered to make decisions and improve operations with few indirect staff... More

 Case in Point  Toyota

Toyota’s global competitive advantage is based on a corporate philosophy known as the Toyota Production System. The system depends in part on a human resources management policy that stimulates employee creativity and loyalty but also on a highly efficient network of suppliers and components manufacturers... More

The Toyota Way is not the Toyota Production System (TPS) . The 14 Principles of the Toyota Way is a management philosophy used by the Toyota corporation that includes TPS, also known as lean manufacturing... More

 Case in Point  Three Small- and Medium-Sized Firms, U.S.A.

Smaller and mid-sized organizations pride themselves on being nimble – quick to respond and to seize opportunities. Many believe smaller size is more manageable; and that internal communications in a smaller group can be maintained so employees can take ownership of more than their own corner of the enterprise. One key to success is maximizing resources and discovering inventive ways to overcome budget limitations. Another trend is moving from a PUSH system – building to forecasts – to a PULL system, building in response to orders... More





  1. Relentless Growth, Christopher Meyer

  2. "Competitive Manufacturing Management", John M. Nicholas

  3. "The Lean Journey: The Quest for Efficiency in the Manufacturing Industry," White Paper by Oracle Corporation

  4. "TPS vs. Lean and the Law of Unintended Consequences," Art Smalley, President, Art of Lean, Inc.

  5. "Lean Thinking," James Womack and Daniel Jones

  6. Lean Manufacturing That Works, Bill Carreira

  7. The Toyota Way, Jeffrey Liker

  8. Toyota Production System,, Taiichi Ohno

  9. "Kanban Just-In-Time at Toyota," Japan Management Association

  10. "Lean Production Simplified," Pascal Dennis, John Shook

  11. "The Lean Manufacturing Pocket Handbook," Kenneth W. Dailey

  12. "Lean Six Sigma : Combining Six Sigma Quality with Lean Production Speed," Michael L. George

  13. Kaikaku: The Power and Magic of Lean, Norman Bodek