6.3 Lean basic concepts

Core concepts

  • Deliver value to the customer
  • Eliminate waste



  •  What the customer really wants and pays for
  • Identifying values are difficult and problematic because communication problems at both sides:
    • Sometimes the customer cannot express her needs exactly, precisely and completely
    • In other cases, when customer express her needs completely and precisely than it is sometimes misunderstood or misinterpreted
  • In small number of cases when customer express her needs well and these are understood and interpreted correctly, several processes and actions are performed that are absolutely unnecessary to satisfy the customer needs


Value Stream

  • All the processes and activities needed to deliver the unique result to the customer
  • Helps to understand the value from the customers’ viewpoint
  • All current activities (independently whether an activity creates value or not!)
  • High (system) level drawing avoiding any kind of unnecessary local, low level detail
  • Most of the times only 5-10 percent of a value stream adds the final value


Work categories

  • Value Added work: the customer pays for this kind of work (VA)
  • Non Value Added work (Muda): internal bureaucracy, inefficiency, management issues (NVA)
  • Necessary but Non Value Added work: legal and ethical rules (tax returns, support the community) (NNVA)


Three Ms

  • Mura (unevenness)
    • Customers have different various needs and uneven demands
    • It can cause inconsistency and unnecessary complexity in work and processes
    • Solution: standardized work processes, product design
  • Muri (overburden)
    • Overloading the organization: people, equipment, etc.
    • Results in mistakes, problems, and poor morale
    • Solution: demand management, standardized work processes, trainings
  • Muda (waste)
    • Any kind of Non Value Added work
    • Overproduction: producing more than needed
    • Inventory: having more than needed, all parts or product not
    • Waiting: stopping or slowing down, interruptions
    • Transportation: moving materials, products or information
    • Overprocessing: unnecessary work
    • Motion: unnecessary physical movement
    • Fixing defects: inspecting and fixing defects and mistakes