Lean Manufacturing combines the advantages of craft and mass production systems, whilst avoiding the disadvantages of each. Lean manufacturing is 'lean' because it produces products using fewer resources than traditional 'job shop' and 'mass production' methods.
Lean Manufacturing involves removal of all unnecessary costs (i.e. 'waste'). Waste elimination is translated into customer satisfaction (i.e. improved performance, quality, cost, delivery etc). In this regard, it is the same as Just-in-Time (JIT) Manufacturing; the difference being that Lean Manufacturing encompasses the whole business rather than just manufacturing. It includes product development, production, supply chains, distribution and customer service.
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Bicheno, J., Cause and Effect JIT: The Essentials of Lean Manufacturing, 2nd Edition, PICSIE Books, Buckingham, England, 1994 (ISBN 0 9513829 5 0)
Womack, J.P. and Jones, D.T, Lean Thinking, Simon & Schuster, New York, USA, 1996 (ISBN 0-684-81035-2)
The European Handbook of Management Consultancy, Oak Tree Press, Dublin, Ireland, 1995 (ISBN 1-86076-010-4)