Most companies will usually identify the word "Lean" in the traditional sense, as associated with the manufacturing assembly line process. Yet over the past few decades, the applications of Lean methods have extended far beyond their original roots in manufacturing, and are now being applied to virtually every business process, even to processes in our daily lives. Lean techniques have continued to gain popularity because they provide proven, measurable results in the form of substantial efficiency improvements and cost savings. Most businesses that have adopted Lean practices agree it has made a measurable impact not only in specific areas of operations, but in their entire way of thinking about how to approach all business processes, from initial concept to delivery, and extending to ongoing full life cycle support.
Beyond the manufacturing community, the concept of Lean has also been circulated in the mainstream news media, and numerous books and articles have been published about Lean. Yet even though most people in business community circles certainly have heard about Lean, they may not all have a good understanding of its background, basic concepts, and how it is applied. This white paper will attempt to provide a high level "primer" about the basic concepts of Lean, and the associated value and benefits to be gained from Lean process improvement practices.