Roser, Christoph. “The Origins of Lean Manufacturing and Lessons for Today. Keynote Presentation.” In Proceedings of the European Lean Educators Conference. Buckingham, England, 2016.
There is a consensus in industry that lean manufacturing is one of the best, if not the best, approach to improving manufacturing and related operations. Properly implemented, this continuous improvement approach will reduce waste, unevenness, and overburden, while giving respect to all stakeholders.
It is common knowledge that lean production originated in the Toyota Production System. The largest influencer was arguably Taiichi Ohno (1912–1990), also known as the father of the Toyota Production System. During the period between 1950 and 1970, he developed most of what we nowadays know as lean production. This helped to make the Toyota Motor Company one of the largest, most profitable, and best companies in the world.
However, Toyota did not develop this system out of the blue; it was inspired by many other companies and events. In the following I would like to give an overview of the major influences that helped form the Toyota Production System and subsequently lean production. Below are different major influencers.