Lean management

19 Jun

Many people want to achieve much through little effort and there is nothing wrong with it. Because time is valuable and you have to use the time efficiently. Through small changes in the everyday life, we get much more than by radical changes. For example: people who have no time to exercise, but really want it can make use of interval training.

“High-intensity interval training is twice as effective as normal exercise,” said Jan Helgerud. It also saves a lot of time because it is much shorter than the normal training.

And for successful companies lean management is the right thing.



The inventors of the Lean management were Dr. Shigeo Shingo and Taiichi Ohno.

“They were both like tigers, fiercely aggressive, neither would accept the idea that something could not be done. They gave you the concept and told you to do it.” Bodek says. He worked with Ohno in Japan. But the basis for this system existed long before them. Ohno said he learned from three people: Mr. Toyoda who had visited America earlier, Dr. Shingo who was Toyota’s primary consultant and teacher, and Henry Ford. And Dr. Shingo on the other hand learned from Frederick Taylor and Frank Gilbreth.

Is not it great to be an inventor of something (Ford: assemble line) to bring further inventions more forward. Learn from each other, and develop the learning. Like this smart people did.


Lean Management was developed in the 70s in Japan in the field of automobile industry at Toyota Motor Company. What Dr. Shigeo and Ohno read in the books they liked it so much that they began to incorporate Ford production and other techniques into an approach called Toyota Production System or Just In Time. Toyota developed the Ford system further and discovered the power of team development, product variety and cellular manufacturing. When the productivity and quality became successful, many Americans traveled to Japan to study it including J. Shook and Norman Bodek who first published the works of Shingo and Ohno in English.

Other times, other manners. The people and the world are developing, develop you with them.

But what is lean management?

While I occupied with the topic, I have found many definitions and opinions about management and lean. While Wikipedia do not offer direct definition of lean management only the definition on lean manufacturing, which is a manager philosophy. Managers-net provides you a short and clear definition: “A fusion of Japanese and US management principles focusing on the reduction of: waste, inventory and customer response time.”  And John Shook who worked for Toyota for over 10 years says:” Lean management is not about quick answers, but about going through a thinking process to investigate, analyze, and understand. To try, perhaps to fail, and learn. In short, lean management is very much about asking questions and trying things, or encouraging others to try things. Lean management itself is not much about providing the right answer but it is very much about asking the right question. ”


The last one has got me thinking. I know this from somewhere else. I thought of math lessons. As we students complained: “We do not understand all this!” My teacher kept asking us what exactly you do not understand. On the way to the solution, there are always difficulties and on the way you can make mistakes. But it is important to understand that between A and B are many small steps. It is a process of learning and if you do not know exactly which step must be done as the next in order to reach the goal, don’t be afraid to ask. As soon as you understand the strategy of the processes, then everything will make sense and you do it much faster, which is time saving.


3 Responses to “Lean management”

  1. rosepanama June 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    Hi Angie,

    you start your post with a very compelling introduction! Well done! This very personal touch you gave your post made me curious, so I kept reading. I also think that you have improved a lot in the way you write your posts! You provide quotations, links and opinions of professionals who know a lot more about lean management than we do. Thus it is interesting to read what they have to say. Nevertheless, I didn’t quite get the connection you draw between interval training and lean management. For someone who is not familiar with the topic it would have been advisable to define the term right away, so that the rest of your article becomes more understandable. Moreover, it would have been just great if you did not just mention the name of the person who has to say something about that topic but also who that person is. I would have loved to learn right away who Dr. Shiego Shingo and who Taiichi Ohne are. Instead my reading flow was stopped because I first had to click on the link in order to learn that Shigeo Shingo was a Japanese industrial engineer for example. Furthermore I don’t know who Bodek is?! Is he some co-worker of the other two?
    However, I love the little slide-in part about the history of lean production that gave me a better picture about how it all started!
    Your ending is very successful, in my opinion! Providing your aha-moment and a comparison to your maths class gives your post a personal framework!
    I am excited to read your next post!

  2. melissano18 June 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    Hey Angie!

    This post is a very well written piece of work! In your last blog post you already introduced lean management and said that you are writing your next post about it. So I was very interested to find out what lean management is and after reading your post I now have an idea.
    I really liked that you used little subheadings. These are often very supportive for the structure. However, I have to agree with Rose that it would have been better if you would have started with the definition of lean management.
    Nevertheless, I think it is great how you showed your personal opinion at the end of your post and tried to compare John Shook’s quote to other situations. I totally agree with your opinion at the end.
    Your pictures support and fit to the topic.
    The quotes are very well chosen, but maybe you can show the quotes in a different way, so that they are more like an eye catcher for the reader (press the quotation mark button, so that they appear in a different way!).This could be more interesting for the reader!

    Great post, Angie! I am looking forward to read more about this topic in your next post!


  1. Disadvantages of lean management « hit the nail on the top - June 26, 2012

    […] my last article I wrote about lean management and that this strategy is a great innovation for many reasons, and […]

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