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Lean Principles and Application


“Lean”, as a concept, gained wide popularity in the early 1990s partly as a result of a study undertaken by MIT to understand why Japanese companies were so much more successful than their Western counterparts in competing in the automotive sector. Since then there has been a proliferation of “lean initiatives” often focussing on the adoption of tools and techniques intrinsic to the Toyota Production System and occasionally seeking to apply “lean thinking” to processes and sectors outside the automotive sector.

This module seeks to explain the fundamentals principles and philosophy of Lean as exemplified by Toyota. It then considers how Lean has evolved as it has been applied into other sectors. Finally it considers the management of change needed to sustain Lean improvements and establish a Lean Enterprise. The module also provides scope for participants to explore how they might appropriately apply Lean in their own or others' organisations.


On completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss a framework for “Lean Thinking” and the benefits a Lean approach can afford.
  • Apply appropriately an approach to creating, identifying & capitalising on opportunities for “Lean Enterprise”
  • Identify, select and apply appropriately relevant tools and techniques to support “Lean Enterprise”
  • Critically evaluate how “Lean Thinking” might apply in different sectors, processes and levels within the enterprise.
  • Determine an appropriate approach to implementing sustainable Lean enterprise

Typical Contents

  • The concept of the Three M's (Muda, Mura and Muri)
  • The Toyota Production System and 'Big' Lean
  • Lean Thinking
  • Lean in non-manufacturing applications
  • Application case-studies
  • Lean implementation
  • Lean Management & Sustaining Lean Enterprise
  • Tools and techniques
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