The concepts that form the fundamental principles of Lean were initially developed by Taiichi Ohno in the creation of the venerated Toyota Production System (TPS). Ohno employed techniques such as jidoka (intelligent automation), Just-in-Time manufacturing, Kanban (visual ordering systems), kaizen (continuous improvement), and Heijunka (production balancing) to revolutionize production in Toyota's vehicle manufacturing plants. In his book, The Machine that Changed the World, James Womack christened the TPS a Lean system, and the term has since been used to describe any manufacturing or operating system that utilizes a similar methodology. Lean helped Toyota race ahead of GM to take the top-spot in global vehicle manufacture, and it has since laid the foundation for phenomenal success in myriad companies and organizations. Lean is extremely versatile, as can be seen in the profound effect it has had on the success of organizations in wide-ranging sectors of business: from manufacture to government administration. This versatility does not end with the overhaul of company cultures and production systems in different industry sectors. Lean can be adapted and utilized on a much smaller scale: project management.
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Lean/Agile introduction book