4 Lean Management Tools You Must Know

There are 4 Lean Management tools you must know, which will help you achieve paramount results from this type of management. When applied in organizations, they can play a huge role in the achievement of top results.

4 Lean Management Tools You Must Know

1. 5S

This is also known as the Visual Factory or Visual Workplace, and it is a workplace tool that exploits the organization, safety, and cleanliness of every aspect of the working atmosphere. This tool offers your organization with fast and noticeable achievement as it prepares the workforce for enhanced improvement efforts. It has been named 5S due to the actions involved, and they include the following;

  •  Sort. This is where the removal of every item that is not needed in the workplace takes place.
  •  Set In Order. Here, items will be arranged in relation to their relevance or priority, or whichever category.
  •  Shine. This involves the cleaning and inspection of the work area. You can also apply the preventative cleaning strategy.
  •  Standardize. Here, it involves the sustaining of the enhancement via the structure and discipline.
  •  Sustain. The regular application of the standards is what is focused here. You should continue supporting the actions throughout the process. This will be accomplished via auditing, description of jobs, which includes management support, expectations, and system maintenance.

This tool helps to get rid of the waste that lead to work areas that are poorly organized.

2. Value Stream Mapping, VSM

This tool is mostly used to demonstrate the flow and connection between the various work processes. One major aspect of this tool is the distinction of the activities that add value to the organization, and those that do not add any value. Basically, it will help to map the production flow visually. As a result, it will show the present and future condition of processes. Through this, the improvement opportunities will be identified.

It is important to get rid of, or at least reduce the activities that do not add any value to the organization. It is also one of the major principles of Lean Management. Once you examine the management process via VSM, you will get to know the areas that need to be improved. This process needs keen observance.

The Mapping of the entire process, while pointing out where there are activities that add value, and those that don’t, will help to know where the dead ends are.

3. Total Productive Maintenance, TPM

This is also one of the 4 Lean Management tools you must know, and it is an influential program that is used for the planning and attainment of the least stoppage of the machine. The tools and equipments will be put on a preemptive schedule in order to enhance the constant running of them, and limit the downtime enough.

The operators of the machines will be more responsible for keeping their machines active as ever. The technicians responsible for the maintenance of the machines will be released from petty jobs. This is to help them pay more attention to the crucial repairs, and other practical maintenance jobs. With a reliable TPM program, you will be able to plan for the downtime, and limit the breakdowns of the machines.

The Total Productive Maintenance helps to drive the initiatives of improvements, and it also accelerates other related activities of Lean Management. Lack of a steady TPM program might be difficult to develop a reliable performance of machines in an organization. It is therefore vital to have such a tool in the organization, for the sake of having steady and well-functioning machines.

4. Standardized Work Instructions, SWI

The Standardized Work Instructions are detailed directions that allow for the completion of processes in a uniform, well-timed and regular manner. When an organization applies and implements the SWI, the employees will boost the level of their production, and the quality of the products. In addition, the instructions will provide a safer, and a likely environment for working.

The SWI includes the constant testing of the work processes in order to find the most efficient, and reliable ways that will factor in the termination of activities. The most recent paramount ways found via the SWI are vital, since one basic principle of SWI is that you must find the most appropriate ways to execute the job. It might not be easy to find reliable output that is of a high quality, and one that is achieved in the shortest time possible. But with the SWI, you will be able to standardize the processes of the work, which will then be followed by the employees.

Typically, the majority of the workers will prefer doing things their own way, but it is important to do things their way, while sticking to the standardized way, which is under the SWI. This can also be possible, because, if the workers wish to do their job in their own way, then they will have to maximize it. This means that, the employees will need to perform their duties in the best way possible, whether it is their own, or not.

One thing that should be noted here is the timing of the given task completion. Generally, if the employees need to do things their own way, but in the best way possible, then will need to be given a time limit. However, in some situations, the time setting might seem uncomfortable, whereby, you are on the neck of the operator, checking how far they’ve gone. Conversely, you can choose to let them time themselves, and they will be more responsible.


There are several tools that help in the accomplishment of the Lean Management, they all have different approaches, but all with an aim of integrating the related aspects. A proper implementation of these tools will favor success in an organization. They all approach the progress of the organization from every side. Some target at the manpower, which is the employees, others target at the machineries, while others focus on the rules and instructions that guide the employees. So basically, they will help in the integration of aspects that lead to the success of a business, via the Lean Management. These are the 4 Lean Management tools you must know, which will help your organization perform well.


Mark is the Lead Author & Editor of Spectechular Blog. Mark established the Spectechular blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Management.