5 Principles Of Lean Management That Will Make Your Business More Efficient

Lean principles

If you’re looking to increase efficiency and reduce costs in your business, then you should consider the five principles of lean management.

Lean management is a set of principles that focus on eliminating waste and maximizing value within an organization. By following these five principles, businesses can improve efficiency and productivity, resulting in better customer satisfaction and increased profits. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the five principles of lean and how they can help make your business more efficient.

1) Define value from the customer’s perspective

Principles of lean management
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One of the most important principles is to define value from the customer’s perspective. In order to ensure that your business is efficient and successful, you must understand what your customers value and create a strategy that provides it.

Implementing lean manufacturing means focusing on reducing waste in order to maximize the customer’s experience. This involves understanding the customer’s needs and expectations, as well as designing processes that are tailored to meet those needs.

Identifying and eliminating any activities that don’t directly contribute to providing the customer with value is critical.

Process map

When implementing lean principles, you need to create a value stream map to identify each step in the process. This will enable you to determine which steps are unnecessary or inefficient and can be removed. It also helps you identify potential areas for improvement and continuous improvement opportunities.

Customer feedback

Lean thinking also requires that you pay attention to customer feedback. This allows you to identify any problems or issues and quickly address them. Gathering customer feedback regularly also allows you to stay ahead of any new trends and make sure that your processes remain relevant.

By defining value from the customer’s perspective and implementing lean principles, your business will be able to become more efficient and cost-effective.

2) Identify the value stream and eliminate waste

Identify the value stream and eliminate waste
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It is based on the five key lean principles developed by the Lean Enterprise Institute:

Identify the value stream

Establish pull

Create flow

Deliver fast

Continuously improve

By applying these principles to their production process, businesses can make their operations more efficient and ultimately more profitable.

Value Stream Mapping

To start with, businesses need to identify the value stream. This involves understanding which steps in the production process are necessary for creating value for customers and which steps are considered pure waste. By mapping out the production process and identifying the value-adding activities, businesses can identify areas where they can eliminate waste and streamline their processes.

To achieve this goal, businesses should begin by identifying the seven types of waste:


This type of waste is generated by producing more than what is necessary or required. It can cause a business to waste resources and time, which in turn increases its costs.


Waiting is a type of waste that occurs when there are delays in production or services due to idle times, such as waiting for supplies or materials, waiting for approvals, or waiting for equipment to be repaired.


This type of waste refers to the unnecessary movement of materials, people, and products between processes.


Over-processing is a type of waste in lean management that refers to the use of more resources than necessary to complete a task. This includes anything from utilizing redundant or inefficient processes to performing tasks in a way that requires more effort than needed. Over-processing can lead to increased costs, longer lead times, and a decrease in quality. It can also cause employees to become frustrated or unmotivated when forced to work with unnecessary complexity. By identifying and eliminating overprocessing, businesses can become more efficient, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.


Inventory waste refers to having too much stock of raw materials or finished goods on hand. This is a common problem for businesses that order materials in bulk or produce more than what is necessary. Having too much inventory can lead to storage costs, increased taxes, and decreased cash flow.


This type of waste happens when employees perform unnecessary tasks or move around too much. This creates inefficiencies and can result in accidents or injuries in the workplace.


Defects occur when an output does not meet the desired quality or when the customer’s expectations are not met. Defects can result in lost time, money, and resources, resulting in higher costs and decreased efficiency. By reducing the amount of defects, businesses can increase their productivity and reduce costs associated with wasted materials and labor.

3) Create flow to provide value continuously

Create flow to provide value
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Creating flow in a business is an important part of lean management and will make your business more efficient. But what does it mean to create flow? Essentially, it means creating a steady stream of value with minimal interruptions or delays. Flow should be designed to minimize the amount of time and resources needed to produce a product or service.

The automotive industry is one example of how this works. Automakers have implemented lean management principles by designing their factories to have lean production lines, meaning that they are organized and designed in such a way that each step in the production process feeds into the next one with minimal disruption. This helps to keep costs low while maximizing efficiency.

Small businesses can also incorporate this principle into their operations. By looking for areas where processes are inefficient and then reorganizing them in order to streamline production, small businesses can become more efficient and save money.

4) Pull value from the customer

Pull value from the customer
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The next key lean principle is establishing pull. This requires setting up a system where the customer or end user pulls the product through the production process in a tight sequence rather than having it pushed through a system of separate departments.

By setting up a pull system, businesses are able to better predict demand and control inventory levels while still delivering products faster.

Pulling value from the customer is a core principle of lean management and one of the key methods for improving the efficiency of a business. Put simply, it means listening to your customers and finding ways to provide them with the products and services that they need and value most.

Pulling value from the customer is not only an important way to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, but it can also save your business money in the long run. After all, if your customers are happy with the products and services you offer, they are more likely to buy from you again. And who doesn’t want more repeat business?

But what does it really mean to “pull value from the customer”? It can be as simple as asking them for feedback and really listening to what they have to say. It can also be a bit more creative, like brainstorming ways to make their experience more efficient or convenient.

Take the health industry, for example.

One way to pull value from the customer is to provide options for booking appointments online and offering telemedicine services.

This way, customers don’t have to spend hours of their day trying to get an appointment and can instead focus on their health and well-being.

5) Seek perfection

Seek perfection
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The last principle of lean management is to seek perfection. This means striving to create a process that eliminates waste and maximizes efficiency. Lean management strives to eliminate all unnecessary steps and time in the production process.

Once the wastes have been identified, businesses can then focus on implementing strategies to reduce or eliminate them. This could include streamlining processes and investing in better equipment, as well as automating certain tasks.

Process standardization

Additionally, companies can also look into implementing lean management principles, such as eliminating non-value-added steps, making sure each step adds value to the process and ensuring the process is standardized.

Through the Kaizen route of an effective lean management system, businesses can make sure that every step of their production process is as efficient and cost-effective as possible.


Lean management principles
Lean management principles

All five principles are essential for creating an efficient and productive business. With a focus on process improvement and a lean mindset, any organization can create a lean organization that is more efficient and successful. By applying the five lean principles, businesses can realize greater efficiency and profits. By committing to a “lean culture”, companies will be able to achieve their goals faster and with fewer resources.

In conclusion, implementing the five principles of lean methodology, as inspired by the Toyota Production System and developed by the Lean Enterprise Institute, can have a significant impact on the efficiency and success of businesses in various industries, including software development. Lean project management, continuous process improvement, and a focus on customer value are all critical components of this approach. It’s important to remember that while data sources may be the same, a human touch is necessary to make these principles truly effective. As we’ve seen from the most efficient companies in the world, the beauty of the Lean Principles lies in the small details of efficient operations—optimizing processes in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for our businesses and customers alike.

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About the Author

Liviu Prodan

Liviu is an experienced trainer and LifeHacker. He’s been living the ‘Corpo life’ for more than 15 years now and has been a business developer for more than 12 years. His experience brings a lot of relevancy to his space, which he shares on this blog. Now he pursue a career in the Continuous Improvement & Business Development field, as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, a path that is coherent with his beliefs and gives him a lot of satisfaction.

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