Four Key Lean Thinking Ideas

business idea

Lean thinking and its principles are a great strategy to adhere to when working in a supply chain or manufacturing business. These ideas have stood the test of time when it comes to making sure a business works at its optimal capacities. If you are thinking of improving your business, then perhaps it’s worth availing yourself of these four lean thinking tools. 

What Is Lean Thinking?

Lean thinking was first devised by two analysts when they took a look at Toyota’s Production system in the 50s. It’s a bit of a complex idea, but its key principles are to minimize waste, and to focus on making sure that project managers have fully developed their reasoning abilities. The result of their work has had a huge influence on the modern business world.

If the concepts of using lean thinking business is too complicated for you, but you want to use them to help develop your business, then perhaps it’s worth bringing in lean consulting services to help you make your company the best it can possibly be. Read on now for four lean thinking ideas.

Kaizen Activities

Kaizen is the Sino-Japanese word for improvement. It refers to business activities that can be used to improve all functions in a business, bringing in everyone from the CEO to people working on the production line. Whether it’s workshops or just an individual idea, a kaizen activity is one that is scheduled and then used to actively improve an aspect of the workplace. 


Meaning signboard or billboard in Japanese, kanban refers to creating a scheduling system for lean manufacturing or just-in-time manufacturing. While initially referring to using a card system to show what project needs to be worked on when during supply chain issues, there is no reason why the principle of kanban can’t be used to refer to all different aspects of project management. 

Takt Time

Takt time was popularized by Toyota, but it’s likely that it has been used in one form or another since the 16th century. It comes from the German word “takt”— which refers to a beat in music. It basically refers to the rate at which you need to finish a product in order to meet the demands of the customer. It’s calculated by dividing production time by customer demand. This allows companies to see how much and how fast they must produce in order to meet demand and make sure that they don’t fall short.  


We all know what automation is, which refers to the ways in which computers and machines can create objects on their own. Autonomation refers to automation with a human touch, applying human supervisory aspects to the production line in order to look out for and stop any abnormalities. This is crucial when it comes tojust-in-time manufacturing, as any error in the production line could severely affect the takt time of any given product.

Final Thoughts

This is just a taste of the many, multifaceted ideas that Japanese manufacturers brought to the world. Nonetheless, this article has been created to give you a brief overview of what they can offer. Start implementing these concepts in your business and you might see the effects soon after.