Lean manufacturing, lean enterprise, or lean production, often simply, "Lean," is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. Working from the perspective of the customer who consumes a product or service, "value" is defined as any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.
For many, Lean is the set of "tools" that assist in the identification and steady elimination of waste (muda). As waste is eliminated quality improves while production time and cost are reduced. A non exhaustive list of such tools would include: SMED, Value Stream Mapping, Five S, Kanban (pull systems), poka-yoke (error-proofing), Total Productive Maintenance, elimination of time batching, mixed model processing, Rank Order Clustering, single point scheduling, redesigning working cells, multi-process handling and control charts.
There is a second approach to Lean Manufacturing, which is promoted by Toyota, in which the focus is upon improving the "flow" or smoothness of work, thereby steadily eliminating mura ("unevenness") through the system. the TPS has two pillar concepts: Just-in-time (JIT) or "flow", and "autonomation" (smart automation)