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The Lean Thinking principles made their beginnings in the manufacturing industry in the mid 1950s and developed into the automotive sector through the Toyota Production System (TPS). In more recent times Lean Thinking principles have expanded into a wider range of industry sectors and process applications such as; the Public Sector in  Health, Defence, Utilities and  Education; as well as business and management functions including Strategy, Finance, Infrastructure, Administration and Customer Service. The Lean Thinking principles continue to provide a sound foundation and solid framework for achieving sustainable continuous improvement and cultural transformation.

It is commonly believed that it all started in Japan, however Henry Ford began the fundamentals of Lean as early as the 1920s as evidenced in his books and direct quotes, like the one below.

"One of the most noteworthy accomplishments in keeping the price of Ford products low is the gradual shortening of the production cycle. The longer the article is in the process of manufacture and the more it is moved about, the greater is its ultimate cost." Henry Ford 1926

Today we view Lean Thinking methodology as a systematic examination of processes, methods and systems to identify and eliminate waste by applying continuous improvement, synchronous flow of work in line with customer value streams, market demand management and the pursuit of perfection.

Lean applies to the entire organisation and supply chain and recognises that the most productive outcome is derived by improving  the sum of all business functions and processes. Lean Thinking provides the foundation, skeleton or framework for organisational improvement and it is the unique application of Lean Thinking by each organisation, that makes an organisation 'Best in Class.'

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