Beyond Efficiency: Lean as an Organisational Culture
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The Lean philosophy, which originated in the Toyota Production System, has become an essential approach for companies seeking efficiency and competitiveness. With a focus on eliminating waste and continuous improvement, Lean offers a clear path to operational excellence. Lean focuses on several perspectives, including efficiency, productivity, quality and innovation.

Lean is a way of thinking about creating the value you need with fewer resources and less waste. Lean is also a practice that consists of continuous experimentation to achieve perfect value with zero waste. Lean thinking and Lean practice go hand in hand.

Lean thinking always starts with the customer. What does the customer value? Or, phrased differently and inviting concrete action, what problem does the customer need solved?

Lean practice starts with work – the actions that create value for the customer, directly or indirectly – and the people who carry out this function. Through continuous experimentation, employees and managers learn to innovate in their actions, whether physical or intellectual, in order to obtain more and more quality and fluidity, less time and effort, and lower costs. Thus, an organisation characterised by Lean practice is highly adapted to its sometimes constantly changing environment, compared to its peers, due to the systematic and continuous learning fostered by Lean thinking and practice.


A Lean organisation must organise itself to continue understanding the customer and their context, i.e. specifying value and looking for better ways to deliver it:

– through product and process development,

– during fulfilment, from order through production to delivery, and

– through the product and/or service utilisation cycle, from delivery, through maintenance and upgrades, to recycling.


Lean companies, whether multinationals, SMEs or simply start-ups, are constantly asking fundamental questions about their purpose, process and people:

– What is the value-orientated purpose? Or what is the problem to be solved?

– What are the actions to be taken to solve the problem?

– What skills are needed to do the job of solving the problem?- What management system, particularly in operations and leadership behaviour, is required?- What thinking, including mindsets and assumptions, is required by the organisation as a purpose-driven system?

We can conclude that the Lean way of thinking has one orientation: respect for customers, employees, suppliers, investors and the rest of the environment in which these players operate, with the belief that everyone can and will benefit from Lean practices. Lean is not dogmatic.It’s not a rigid, unchanging set of beliefs and methods. Instead, it progresses in the context of specific situations. There is no end point while value is created imperfectly and waste exists.

And how can Lean help organisations?

From executive coaching in strategy development, implementation and alignment to employee engagement to create a problem-solving culture, Lean thinking and practice can boost the performance of any organisation.

Adopting the Lean philosophy can profoundly transform an organisation. With a focus on efficiency, quality, continuous improvement and innovation, Lean helps companies eliminate waste, increase productivity and better satisfy customers. For companies that want to remain competitive in the long term, implementing Lean is not just an option, but a necessity.


Orlando Fontan

Project Management Advisor


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