Back to the Basics: 5 Principles of Lean

Happy New Year! I hope the holidays treated everyone well.

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays and now a new semester I thought it would be a perfect time to get back to the basics and look at the Five Principles of Lean.

The five key principles guide the Lean philosophy of continuous improvement that involves all employees, who constantly pursue the elimination of waste and the reduction of variability; towards the pursuit of perfection. The principles are as follows:

1. Customers–Specify value from the standpoint of the end customer by product of family. Understand who your customer(s) are and know what they consider to be valuable.

2. Value stream–Identify the value stream for each product or service, eliminating whenever possible those steps that do not create value.

3. Flow–Make the value-creating steps occur so the product or service will flow smoothly toward the customer. Eliminate steps that do not create value for the customer.

4. Pull–As flow is introduced, let customers pull value from the new upstream activity.

5. Continuous Improvement–Seek perfection; begin the process again and continue to make improvements and celebrate success.

In following these five principles of Lean you will implement a philosophy that will become “just the way things are done.” You are ensuring that you are driving towards the overall organizational strategy by constant review of your processes to ensure that they are consistently delivering value to your customer.

Keep these principles in mine throughout 2014 and your year is sure to be a success!