Simply put, it’s a way of trimming the fat.

With the growing popularity of the green movement, the drive to cut back and conserve is quickly spreading to other areas of life and fields of industry.  One method of doing more with less is called lean manufacturing, lean production, or simply lean.  It’s a process that originated in Japan’s Toyota Processing System and is described by Wikipedia as “a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than creation of action of process that a customer could be willing to pay for.”  The goal of lean manufacturing is to provide quality goods while using less—less time, less energy, and fewer resources.  Simply put, it’s a way of trimming the fat.  The lean production model can be applied in any industry with many benefits.


Excess Inventory
Carrying excess inventory is one of the seven primary wastes in lean.


Lean in Healthcare

As Mark Graban describes it in his book Lean Hospitals:  Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Satisfaction:  “Lean is a toolset, a management system, and a philosophy that can change the way hospitals are organized and managed.”  The ultimate goal of a health care provider is giving superior patient care, and the lean process aligns the abilities of the caregiver to reach that goal.  Implementation of lean processes can have an immediate impact on cost saving; they have direct implications on cash flow, customer satisfaction and quality.

Lean Waste Elimination

The Toyota model identified what is known as the Seven Wastes of Lean:  inventory, extra processing, excessive motion, transportation, waiting, over-production and defect.  As lean spread to other industries, an eighth lean was identified:  talent.  The idea behind lean is that by cutting down or eliminating each of these wastes, you’ll save money and see an increase in revenue, productivity, and efficiency.

In a two-part feature called “Eliminating the Wastes of Lean in Master Planning,” we’ll walk through some of the ways to cut down on most of these wastes and trim the fat in the design process. Part one will discuss the wastes of wait, overproduction, and defect.  Stay tuned!

Are you an architectural, engineering or interior design All-Star?

Join Us