Standard Business Roadmap

Implementation Manual



Key concepts


The key concepts of “lean thinking” (as shown if figure 1) can be applied across any industry, and are described below.


Integrated approach


Lean manufacturing aims to align all function with the common goal of reducing overall cost for the business, rather than each function attempting to reduce its own costs in isolation.  Thus, the manufacturing system is inherently stronger than a traditional system where different departments pursue their own objectives independently of one another.  A true lean transformation necessitates that all functions understand the application of tools and techniques within the manufacturing system. 


Elimination of waste


During the lean transformation, all functions aim to eliminate waste in a manufacturing environment.  Waste can be defined as anything above the minimum resources required to complete an activity.  Wasteful activities only add cost to a product; they do not add value.


Hidden becomes obvious


As wasteful activities are eliminated from a manufacturing system, the true root causes of problems become visible.  Previously, the waste hid these causes.  As an example, a large amount of inventory after a process may have concealed the true problem of the process – long changeover times.  These long change over times would have necessitated producing in large batches.


Order out of chaos


As problems become visible, the root causes must be solved to fully eliminate the problems.  As problems are solved, then the manufacturing system becomes more consistent and predictable.  Yet, many traditional organisations are often engaged in a “fire-fighting” mode because company systems fail in the face of variability. To react to this variability, such as a change in customer requirements, additional resources are often brought into processes to “keep the show on the road”.  However, a lean system will adjust efficiently to this variability, helping to bring order out of the chaos.


Standardisation and continuous improvement


As a manufacturing system becomes more consistent, then standards can be developed to ensure that the improvements are maintained.  Once standards are in place, they must be continuously challenged in a bid to make further improvements.  Striving for continuous improvement is referred to as the Japanese word, kaizen.




As standards are created, then ownership of particular processes can be transferred to those closest to the process itself.  Experience has shown that a lean manufacturing system can only be successful if its ownership is devolved to the people who actually operate it.


SBR lean manufacturing model


The SBR lean manufacturing model illustrates the key concepts and operating principles for lean manufacturing. 


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