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    Dave Westrom
    Dave Westrom Lean Manufacturing / February 04, 2020

    Lean is a versatile word

    When you think "going lean," what comes to mind?

    Lean manufacturing? Lean wastes? Lean Startup?

    As it turns out, the word lean can refer to a lot of things. 

    Today we are going to discuss a few different ways the word is used so everyone can be on the same page!

    Lean Manufacturing

    At its base, lean manufacturing is about reducing waste. It is a constant journey of continuous improvement!

    In order to do that, a company works to reduce eight defined wastes. You can read more about them on our blog here.

    Lean manufacturing can be traced all the way back to just after WWII, around the 1950s. 

    In comparison, the other lean we will be talking about is much more recent!

    Lean Startup

    Influenced by lean manufacturing, lean startup has only existed since around 2004. 

    They are related, but definitely separate ideas. 

    What's the difference between the two? 

    Quality Digest said, "Lean manufacturing is about 'how to build better,' and lean startup is about 'what to build'; the former more caters to established enterprises running mass production, and the latter to entrepreneurial businesses developing new products in untested markets."

    Established businesses might be focusing on lean manufacturing while new businesses might focus more on lean startup. Additionally, old businesses going through major changes might turn to lean startup techniques!


    So, what have we learned? If you want to stay clear about which techniques you are trying to focus on, it's important to clarify the type of lean you are talking about!


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