“Lean philosophy” and its principles originated in the manufacturing world (Womack and Jones, 1996; Hines et al., 2004) after the end of the Second World War, as a result of customers’ needs evolving towards higher value in combination with companies’ increasingly diverse offer. This significant redirection of production systems towards customer value is summarized in the “five principles of lean” described below (Womack and Jones, 1996):
Value is created when internal waste decreases and so costs are reduced and is increased by offering new services and/or functions valued by the customer.
The concept of value stream must not hide behind a wall of obscurity. The costs of every firm must be transparent to all supply chain partners.
The principle of creating flow has the aim of avoiding any stoppage in the value stream by preventing the main causes of such stoppages (i.e. changes in production, breakdowns, incorrect batches in terms of quantity or timing, lack of necessary information and re-entrant loops).
This principle implies high responsiveness while producing the highest quality products in an efficient and valuable way. The production pull is extended uphill to the suppliers and the whole upstream supply chain.
by continuously identifying and eliminating waste.
Enterprise Ireland offer SMEs a range of supports with regards to the implementation of LEAN principles in manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors. For more information visit