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lean production


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An approach to manufacturing that focuses on eliminating waste and improving work flow. It is particularly associated with the production system established at Toyota in the 1950s and 1960s, with its twin pillars of just-in-time inventory management and automated quality control. In recent decades the principles of ‘lean thinking’ have been increasingly applied within the service industries. See also kaizen; kanban; Shingo's Seven Wastes.


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