The term “Lean” is a manufacturing concept that views the use of resources outside the main goal of creating a product for a customer to be "non-value-adding," and it seeks to identify wastes and eliminate them. This product or service is considered a “value” in the lean model.
Coined by quality engineer John Krafcik in his 1988 article, “Triumph of the Lean Production System,” lean relies on concept innovations that evolved during Taiichi Ohno’s creation of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and centers around providing value to customers, with less waste and ineffectual work. In fact, in its efforts to identify wasteful muda (Japanese term for waste), Toyota developed a list of the 7 wastes that specifically represent wasteful entities within their production process, and they work to eliminate or at least reduce any and all of the identified wastes.
In its most basic form, Lean is a "toolbox" that contains a complete set of tools to help a company incrementally reduce waste and help it run more efficiently. These tools, each capable of working individually as effective methods of improving some aspect of the manufacturing (or management) process, are combined to optimize flow, increase efficient methods of production, decrease non-value-adding work, cut costs, and improve the quality of a product or service. Some of the tools of Lean include: JIT, kaizen, value stream mapping, kanban, poka yoke, and 5S. With lean becoming so large in so many workplace we also recommend vinyl floor tape.