Lean for dummies

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Introduction
The principles and practices of Lean organizations are recognized the
world over as the most powerful and effective way to build and sustain
continuously improving businesses and institutions. Following a Lean path,
any business in any industry of any size or type can improve itself continuously
over the long term. Led by advancements first pioneered at the Toyota
MotorCorporation over 50 years ago, Lean is now established as the most
consistently successful approach to organizing and operating any enterprise.
If you’re in certain manufacturing industries, or public institutions like the
U.S. military, you’ve probably heard about Lean. You may even have been
through a Kaizen event or been part of implementing a pull system. If so,
you’ve already experienced someof the power of Lean tools.
But if you’re like most people, the term Lean itself may be unfamiliar to you,
let alone its principles and practices. Even within those businesses and
organizations that have adopted Lean methods, most people don’t really
understand the bigger picture of Lean. Organizations often implement Lean
piecemeal, leaving some of the most important elements behind — andwith
much less than optimal results.
For decades, the whole system of Lean principles and practices was known
only to specialized manufacturers, certain academic researchers, and quality
gurus. The Toyota Production System (TPS) was the incubator where the
methods, techniques, and tools of Lean were pioneered and refined. Its full
potential has been a mystery to most organizations andprofessionals.
All that began to change in the late 1980s, as the term Lean was coined to
describe the fundamentals of business systems like TPS to the rest of the
world. As the understanding of Lean has spread across continents, industries,
and organizations, it has become less of a mystery and much easier to understand
and implement.
Simply stated, Lean is a philosophy and a proven long-termapproach that
aligns everything in the business to deliver increasing customer value. It’s
about orienting people and systems to deliver a continuous stream of value
to the customer, and eliminate waste and deficiencies in the process. Lean is
an everyday practice at all levels to perform consistently, as well as to consistently
improve performance.
About This Book
This book makes Lean accessibleto you. We wrote it because Lean is applicable
everywhere — it’s applicable in large and complex corporations, but also
in small businesses and industries, as well as public-sector institutions — at
all levels.
We wrote this book for you, the individual. You may be a small-business
owner, an ambitious career person, or a manager who wants to know what
Lean is and how to apply it. You may bea college student or job applicant
who wants to have an edge in upcoming job interviews. No matter who you
are, if you want to know more about Lean, this is the book for you.
Lean For Dummies is not just an overview or survey of Lean. It’s a comprehensive
description of the philosophies and principles of Lean, as well as
the methods and tools to put Lean into practice.
This book is
 Areference book that’s organized into parts, chapters, and sections, so
that you can flip right to what you need, when you need it
 A comprehensive text that addresses both the common tools of Lean
and the improvement principles and practices
 A guide for leading a Lean initiative, helping you identify and manage
Lean projects, and using Lean tools and procedures
 Step-by-step instructionsfor Value Stream Mapping and the methodology
of Lean projects
 Instructions on where you can go for additional help, because the field
of Lean is much too large to fit in just a few hundred pages
Lean is different, and it contains Japanese terms and ideas that may be foreign
to you. But we’ve taken this difficult subject and made it understandable
through examples, simple explanations, and...
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