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A founding character of the term lean, Womack and Jones propose their version of the mindset necessary for effective implementation of lean.

Principle 1: Establish the utility or product or service desired by the “customer”

Establish what is requested by the customer and only what is requested. It is therefore precisely targeting the needs and implementing the most “slender” processes to achievethis. It is recognized that 95% of the executed processes are worthless to the client.

Principle 2: Understanding the production process

Establishing and mapping all activities produce the good or service as desired by the client through the entire organization. It is therefore, to identify activities that are not really necessary in whole or in part, those which can be useful to varying degrees from those which give all their usefulness to the production of the good or service in the eyes of the customer.

Principle 3: Improve the circuit or the production path

A process must be able to run smoothly, continuity without interruption between the stages of production. Some authors estimate that there are between 20-30% of working time devoted to activities that could be eliminated or reviewed. It is therefore a question of improving the areas of congestion or the Bottlenecks (bottlenecks), delays and wait times between planned activities, accumulations and storage (batching) or lack of resources, waiting lists and any errors that could break the flow between the steps to deliver a good or a service.

Principle 4: The client at the centre of concern

The Lean approach puts the customer’s needs at the centre of the process organization and has to anticipate how to adjust and react according to customer demands (system Pull flow). It is therefore necessary to place yourself regularly in the skin of customers to appreciate the current and future processes.

Principle 5: Aiming for perfection

The Lean system must continually seek to find the perfect process that can produce a good or service as soon as possible, with constant quality and without errors while meeting the needs of customers or applicants.

Interview with Jim Womack


J. P. Womack, D. T. Jones (2003)-Lean thinking: Banish waste and create wealth in your corporation

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