The 4 Components of Lean

To have a successful and sustainable Lean implementation, Lean must be implemented as your business operating system.  You must see Lean as the way you run your business.  Lean as an operating system has four components:

  • Lean Concepts—eliminating waste to improve the flow of information and material. Anytime the flow stops, we have waste.
  • Lean Planning—the linking together of the organization’s annual and strategic goals with the Lean activities that will achieve these goals. This linking is an activity called Policy/Company Goal Deployment.
  • Lean Culture—a successful and sustainable Lean implementation can only be built upon a positive working environment foundation.
  • Lean Tools—the techniques used to eliminate the identified waste that is preventing us from achieving the goals we identified in Lean Planning.


Organizations that are unsuccessful with Lean see Lean only as a set of tools (5S for example) versus a business operating system. To be successful with Lean, all four components of Lean must be implemented simultaneously.