Five Lean Principles

Structured and process-oriented to success

Here’s what lies behind the lean principles.

Summary
Five Lean Principles

The 5 lean principles originate from Taiichi Ohno’s Toyota Production System (TPS). For the first time so, these principles were mentioned by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones, who analyzed and scientifically edited the TPS. Because they are basic principles of lean, they can be found in every form of lean: Whether it is construction, production or general management.

You already know the lean principles? Then find out about lean in the construction industry!

The lean principles focus on the customer. This focuses on the added value of the customer, for example in products, services or features. There is continuous striving for perfection – with as little waste as possible.

It is important to understand that lean management and lean principles originate in the automotive industry. With this the focus is on optimizing turnaround times and production processes. This example is also the best way to illustrate the principles.

Here’s how we’ll go into the 5 Lean Principles:

Customer added value (value)

Focus on customer added value - Lean principles

The central aspect of “lean thinking” is the identification and fulfillment of customers’ needs, because in the end the customer decides how good a process really is. After all, it is the recipients or customers of your goods, services and information who can really assess the extent to which you deliver the right thing with the right quality, at the right time, in the right form. Therefore you should constantly question and optimize its fulfillment.

Thus Taiichi Ohno derives from the question “What is the customer willing to pay for” that there is too much waste in the regeneration process, which does not add value to the customer. Therefore his goal was to optimize the entire process between placing the order and receiving money.

Minimize waste in processes

Value Stream & Process Optimization - Lean Principles

Value Stream

Behind this principle is the presentation of all the steps that are actually carried out to provide the service. This involves developing a common understanding of the value stream and making the problems hidden within it visible. Below are the issues that currently prevent you from fully covering customer value or leading to long turnaround times and large resource consumption. This allows you to discover processes and steps that are not value-adding and unnecessary and can replace them directly. This reduces waste in activities and processes and increases productivity.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What activities do we use to generate customer value?
  • In which processes do we create our products or provide our services?
  • Which units of the organization are involved in the value stream?

Pull Principle

Pull Principle - Lean Principles

While operations have so far been pushed through the process chain without regard to the demand and available capacities (push), in the future they will be pulled upstream by the customer (pull). Thus, the following trade requests the performance of the predecessor and the flow of information runs counter to the flow of production.

The idea of the pull principle: The following trade requests the performance of the predecessor.

Information flow = flow of production

Production is on demand!

The flow of information runs counter to the flow of production.

The pull principle is a concept for material flow and process flow. A process step in a value chain should not take place until it is requested by the next step or a customer.

In production environments, therefore, a customer order triggers the production of a product. In the context of the construction industry, a trade triggers the required input. In this way, far fewer resources are committed and the process can be brought into a continuous flow.

In order to be able to implement the pull principle effectively, the production sequence should be smoothed (Heijunka). The individual process steps must be synchronized in such a way that the business sequence can be smooth.

Continuous flow - Lean Principles

Continuous flow

The river principle is one of the most important principles at Lean. This refers to a continuous and smoothed production process that avoids the interruptions in many organizations in the form of interim bearings and buffer stocks. In doing so, you can implement enormous potential for improvement, which has a positive effect on the complete value stream and its efficiency. If you avoid such stops, harmonize production and orient yourself on the value stream, the foundation for flexible, customer-oriented and efficient control of the production is created.

Kaizen-Continuous Improvement

KAIZEN - Continuous Improvement - Lean Principles
Der Plan, Do, Check & Act Zyklus

Kaizen, Japanese for continuous improvement, is the final central part of lean thinking and an ever-repetitive process that can be supported by the PDCA cycle.

The constant striving for perfection in this context also involves the constant questioning of the previous 4 lean principles and thus forms a continuous cycle of all principles. This results in a continuous improvement process, or CIP for short.

Kaizen, Japanese for continuous improvement, is the final central part of lean thinking and an ever-repetitive process that can be supported by the PDCA cycle.

The constant striving for perfection in this context also involves the constant questioning of the previous 4 lean principles and thus forms a continuous cycle of all principles. This results in a continuous improvement process, or CIP for short.

Der Plan, Do, Check & Act Zyklus
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