Here is a list of Lean tools that can be used to improve an organisation

5S – Organising the workplace using 5
structured steps

  • Sort – Eliminate that which is not needed
  • Set – Organise the remaining items
  • Shine – Clean and inspect the area to an agreed standard
  • Standardise – Write standards for the above 3 steps
  • Sustain – Create an audit system to monitor the standards and look to continuously improve

PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) – Used for implementing improvements

  • Plan – Establish a plan and expected results
  • Do – Implement
  • Check – Verify expected results achieved
  • Act – Review and assess (do it again)

Hoshin Kanri

Policy deployment to align the goals of the company strategy with plans of the middle management and the workforce on the shop floor.


Spending time on the shop floor and go to where the action happens. This helps to gain a better understanding of what actually happens and engaging with the workers.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Metrics designed to track and encourage progress towards the goals of the organisation.


Design equipment to automatically stop when defects are detected to improve quality.

JIT (Just In Time)

Material is pulled through the production system based on customer demands at the right time, the right quality in the right quantities, reducing inventory levels.

Kaizen (continuous improvement)

Employees working together to proactively improve the processes in incremental steps.

Standardised Work

Documented procedures that capture best practices for a process that keeps waste to a minimal, safest way of working. This forms a baseline for improvements.

OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness)

Measuring productivity loss for a manufacturing process through availability, performance and quality.

Takt Time

The pace of the production that aligns with customer demand. Available production time / Customer demand.

Poka-Yoke (Error proofing)

Designing error detection and prevention into a process with the aim to achieve zero defects.

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance)

Focuses on proactive and preventative maintenance to maximise the operational time of the equipment.

Root Cause Analysis

Problem-solving that focuses on the underlying problem rather than quick fixes that only treat the symptoms of a problem.

VSM (Value Stream Mapping)

A tool used to visualise the flow of production/materials that helps to identify waste and improvements.

SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Dies)

Reducing the change over (set up) times to maximise a process run time by converting steps from internal (tasks performed while the machine is stopped) to external (performed while the machine is running).

Visual Management

Visual displays of indicators and controls to improve the communication of information.

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