The Five Principles of Lean

The Five Principles of Lean are the foundation of lean manufacturing. These principles are the key to lean success and help companies be more productive, flexible, and competitive.

Identifying Value

The first stage of lean management is identifying value, recognizing the client's problem and making the product the solution. Specifically, the product must be a component of a solution that the consumer is willing to pay for. Any process or action that does not bring value to the end result (meaning it adds usefulness, relevance, or worth) is deemed waste and should be removed.


Keep in mind that ultimately a fraction of time and effort put into an organization adds little value for the end customer.

Value Stream Mapping

The term "value stream mapping" refers to the process of mapping out a company's workflow, encompassing all actions and people involved in making and delivering the end product to the user. Value stream mapping assists managers in visualizing which processes are headed by which teams and identifying the individuals in charge of monitoring, assessing, and improving the process. This visualization assists managers in determining which system components do not provide value to the workflow.


The flow represents the entire process that delivers value to the customer.

Creating A Continuous Workflow

Creating a continuous workflow requires ensuring that each team's workflow runs smoothly and eliminating any disruptions or bottlenecks that may arise while working with cross-functional teams. Kanban, a lean management method that employs a visual signal to initiate action, enables teams to readily communicate about what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Process disruptions and impediments may be removed by breaking down the whole work process into smaller chunks and visualizing the workflow.


Typically, initial flow mapping demonstrates that only 5 % of activities add value. Eliminating waste ensures that value flows to the customer seamlessly, without interruption or waiting.

Developing A Pull System

Creating a pull system ensures that the continuous workflow remains stable and that teams complete work assignments more quickly and with less effort. A pull system is a type of lean approach that reduces waste in any manufacturing process. It guarantees that new work is only begun if there is a need for it, hence reducing overhead and optimizing storage costs. The lean management approach is built on these four ideas. The last concept, however, is the most crucial stage in the lean management method: continual improvement.


Produce only what the customer asks for, when they ask for it.

Facilitating Continuous Improvement

Waste is avoided by completing the first four steps:

1) Recognizing value

2) Mapping the value stream

3) Generating flow

4) Implementing a pull mechanism

Various strategies are used to determine what an organization has done, what it needs to accomplish, any potential hurdles that may develop, and how all company members might enhance their work processes. Because the lean management system is not isolated nor static, problems can arise in any of the other four processes. Ensuring that all workers contribute to the ongoing development of the workflow safeguards the company if difficulties arise.


With the help and support of all your employees, strive for perfection, where every asset and every action adds value to the end customer. As the Kaizen philosophy says: “Everyone improves, every day, across the entire organization!” »

Applying the Principles

The five Lean principles serve as a foundation for building an efficient and productive company. Lean enables managers to identify inefficiencies inside their organizations and provide higher customer value. The principles promote improved flow in work processes and the development of a culture of continual improvement. An organization may remain competitive, enhance the value offered to consumers, lower the cost of conducting business, and raise its profitability by implementing all five principles.

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