woman sharing her presentation with her colleagues. Lean Methodology

Lean Methodology

The lean model for lean methodology has its roots back from 7 decades. It has been a methodology which was brought in use long back but was named lean methodology only recently, about 40 years back. Lean methodology basically revolves around consistent and gradual improvement with every step. You will find lean methodology leaning towards 3 very authentic and relatable business issues,

  • The Purpose
  • Process that goes into work
  • People involved

For being successful and prosperous, a company needs to be keenly dedicated towards providing the customers what they require. This can be accomplished by trying to understand and working to solve my of their reported problems.

The history of lean methodology begins from manufacturing industries. Now, the model has managed to mark its existence in every other field. Its popularity graph has been tremendously increasing.

This is all because of the highly successful results witnessed at various organisations. If assessed today, lean methodology is proving to be beneficial from manufacturing industry to developing software and also in the healthcare industry.  

Pillars of Lean Methodology

The two pillars of holding lean methodology this strong since 7 decades back are,

Respecting People

Lean methodology is of the idea that people are of utmost importance. The insights that you can get for your improvement comes through people who are using the services or working around the services. Therefore every organisation working on the lean model relies on various customer feedback. And interactions with people who are more acquainted with the products and services.

Consistently improving self

Lean methodology also focuses on development at every step in the organisation. Therefore, this makes consistently improving cells and obligation for the company or organisation.

The Five Core Principles of Lean Methodology

After having discussed the two pillars of lean methodology. Latest focus on five core principles of lean model. All of the five core principles are listed below,

  1. Identify value,
  2. Map the value stream,
  3. Create continuous workflow,
  4. Develop a pull system,
  5. Seek continuous improvement.

Identify Value

Every organisation or business has one aim. It is to provide customers with a product or service they are willing to spend on. For finding out what the customers need, it is important to try and understand their point of view. This can be accomplished by going through the customer reviews on your products. Here you can fish out the direct needs of the customers from your service or product.

Hence, helping you find exactly what the customer is willing to spend on. This exact requirement is the value product of your organisation. Any other processing carried out in an organisation not adding value to this product or service, is considered a waste.

The value of service or product can be identified by putting out the following questions,

  1. What do the customers require?
  2. How do they want their requirements to be met?
  3. How do our products and services meet their requirements?
  4. When can we deliver the service or product they require?
  5. how can we deliver the service or products required by the customers?

Map the Value Stream

Mapping the value stream involves the complete process of delivering the product or service to the customer. This map value stream consists of every single person as well as a Process that goes into it. The value stream mapping helps you analyse the complete chain involving every team member. Therefore, making it easier to find out the waste and eliminate it. 

Create Continuous Workflow

Creating a continuous workflow is the process and tilling mapping the value stream. After the completion of the value stream process, creating continuous workflow includes,

  • Enhancing the efficiency of work
  • Eliminating out the waste from the work process

Some of the questions that can be put forced to properly manage continuous workflow are,

  • What will be some important tools that the processes during the workflow will require?
  • How necessary is one tool in the another step of the process?
  • Is there any chance of minimising time between two consecutive processes?
  • What can be the methods to use the minimalistic amount of steps possible to deliver the product to the customer?

Develop a Pull System

Maintaining a stable workflow will help you deliver products or services faster and in minimum steps to the customer. This can be facilitated by developing a pull system.

The process of development of the pull system will require for the organisation to go through the value stream map in an opposite direction. This reverse of directions helps the organisation view the necessity of the product from the point of view of the customer. Thereby giving you a clear Idea on when two to deliver the product to the customer.  Thus, the pool system will enable you to not undergo the process of overproduction. Even your time as well as our efforts are both saved.

A very relevant question that can be put force for developing a pull system is,

How are we supposed to compare and analyse the quantity we possess to the quantity required by the customer?

Seek Continuous Improvement

We can not become what we want to be by remaining what we are – Max DePree

Seeking continuous improvement at work is the basic frame model of lean methodology. It is one of the two pillars holding together lean methodology.

The Three Ms of the Lean Methodology

Lean methodology was always built around, with the centre being, every product, not an efficient part of the final product, is nothing but waste. Keeping in mind the centre of lean methodology, TPS formulated three different types of wastes. The wastes were given the name,

  • Muda,
  • Mura, and
  • Muri


Muda, the first type of waste, stands for drum wastefulness. Wastefulness better is known as uselessness or even futility. All the explanations for Moda indicate towards no value addition. In lean methodology products that do not add any value to the final product are considered wastes. There have been provided two types of Muda,

  • Muda Type 1: includes safety testing, inspection
  • Muda Type 2: activities not necessary for the customer’s benefit

When, Muda Type 2 is properly analyses, it consists of below mentioned 7 waste categories,

  1. Transport (T)
  2. Inventory (I)
  3. Motion (M)
  4. Waiting (W)
  5. Overproduction (O)
  6. Over-processing (O)
  7. Defects (D)


Mura here stands for the word unevenness. Unevenness is synonymous with, non-uniformity as well as irregularity. Mura is also the one which drives the existence of all the 7 wastes. Lean production aims to manage even distribution of work. This plays out the existence of Mura.


Muri is the type of waste which stands ahead for the word, overburden. You can also consider words like, excessiveness, or impossible. Muri can be made out of both Mura and Muda. Muri is all resultant of, machines producing products being used to the fullest of their capacity.

The Advantages of the Lean Model

The Lean model or lean methodology has proved to be immensely beneficial to various organisations. Some of the advantages of the lean model are listed below,

Helps in reduction of expenses

Lean is a methodology that has been based on the maximum amount of profits. Through lean model organisations are able to control the influx and efflux of their expenses. Some of the examples of helping control excessive expenses can be,

  • no investment on transportation that’s not necessary
  • No investment on over processing of waste

Such cuts here and there, help a great deal in savings the organisation profit.

More emphasised Interactions with Customers

Lean methodology is based on respecting people. Equal value is given to the feedback or perspective coming from a customer. Lean methodology deems it important for customers to be able to interact. This helps eliminate any kind of waste in the organisation. Having the emphasized customer interactions, result in realisation of things that the company can live without.

“Push and Pull” System is implemented

The push and pull system implemented, make sure that the organisation faces as low a loss as possible. By giving pull system priority, any overproduction of products is inhibited. This results in no, immediate or future loss. This way the organisation keeps growing into a better one.

Increased Quality standards

Lean methodology is based on detailing. This helps provide the organisation with reduced defects and there for efficiency in the marketing. This also leads to reduced growth of wastes. Therefore helps make profit. Keeping the process keen, the company is able to produce goods that are defect free. Thus, providing utmost efficiency through not wasting both the time and expenses.

Consistently improving

Lean methodology focuses on improvement at every step. Hence, every organisation following lean methodology, aims to consistently improve themselves. This helps an organisation grow through products and services adding value to the market and the managing minimalistic waste.

Employees with boosted Morale

Lean isn’t lean if it doesn’t involve everyone – John Shool

As lean methodology values people. The employees feel very liberated and highly confident in the work environment. Therefore, this keeps the morale boosted. This is also a result of clear communication between the employee and the  employer. This friendly environment gives way to great work quality.

The Disadvantages of Lean Methodology

Lean methodology provides you with various advantages. But being advantageous, can never be a certificate to have no disadvantages. There are some disadvantages that come with lean methodology. Some of them are discussed below,

Problems Involving Inventory

The companies or organisations that have adapted to lean methodology are prone to have let go of inventory use. This makes them depend on various suppliers. Therefore there are chances of getting the supplies delayed.

This can result in delayed product formation and this eventually results in delayed delivery. Thus at times the organisation’s efficiency as well as rapid work behaviour can suffer. 

Impatience with gradual transition

When lean methodology is first tried to be implemented in an organisation, it might face a force of repulsion from various employees at the organisation. This is a result of lean methodology being a slow and gradual process. One needs to be patient to see the transition taking place gradually.

This transition process might be troublesome for workers at the organisation who are not prone to changes. The nature of lean methodology makes it very important for a manager to maintain clarity about the shift with the employees.

Expensive Nature

Applying lean methodology for the first time might turn out to be expensive for an organisation. One can even consider it expensive beyond expectations. This can be a result of all the implementation and various specific training programs as well as equipment required. All during the transition to lean methodology.

Excessively structured plan

Lean methodology is a method of running in organisation. This method is highly structured, keeping in mind various aspects. When someone who is not acquainted with the nature of various principles in lean methodology.

The organisation might go through a very strict handling. This is all the result of an overly structured method not necessary for that particular organisation. Thus it is important to eliminate the unnecessary ones of the five principles.


Lean is a way of thinking, not just a list of things to do – Shigeo Shingo

Lean methodology is a simple model of business that has been transcribed on the two important pillars. The two pillars for lean methodology would be, respecting people and consistently improving self. Lean methodology has also been constructed upon 5 very keen principles. These principles manage to provide strength to respecting people as well as consistently improving themselves.

Lean is a model that was thought out to lessen the company’s expenses as well as put constraints on unnecessary wastage.  Yes, lean methodology is definitely the business model you will like to implement at your organisation. But before, being sure to go for lean, you will have to ensure compatibility of your organisation with various requirements of lean model.

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Article Credit:

This article is contributed by Ms Rashi Arera. Passionate about writing, Rashi sees herself as an artistically inclined and intellectually dominant individual. Writer by profession, her goal is conveying knowledge while maintaining relatability.

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