History behind Lean

The phrase “lean manufacturing” was coined in the 1980’s and has its roots in the Toyota Production System. (See later in this module)

Most of the basic goals of lean manufacturing are common sense, and some fundamental thoughts have been traced back to the writings of Benjamin Franklin.

Henry Ford cited Franklin as a major influence on his lean business practices, which included Just-in-time manufacturing. The founders of Toyota designed a process with inspiration from Henry Ford and their visits to the United States to observe the assembly line and mass production that had made Ford rich. The process is called the Toyota Production System, and is the fundamental principle of lean manufacturing.

Two books have since shaped the ideologies of Lean: “The machine that changed the world” (1990) and “Lean Thinking” (1996).