Continuous improvement in a lean environment creates a culture with the dual objectives to maximize value and minimize waste. Achieving the culture is not complicated but requires consistent focus and support by managers and an atmosphere of open collaboration within and among work groups.

If a company is serious about "Lean," it should define its purpose and develop a strategic plan around key focus indicators (KFI's) that are critical for success. For example, the customer will likely be a key focus indicator. Company leadership might be another.

While high level planning is in a continuous mode, the shop floor might be seeking local improvements. The 5 Step Guide for Planning and Implementing Lean, diagrammed below, comes from the Lean Interprise Institute.

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The subject of the value might be a service or a physical component. The process steps are designed to seek production perfection.

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