Lean is a continuous improvement strategy that a company embarks on to maximize customer value and minimize waste. The term "Lean" was first used in the book The Machine That Changed the World by James Womack. A lean organization focuses on providing complete value or Value added activities to their customers. One of the ways that lean accomplishes this is through the complete and total elimination of any form of waste.
What happens when organizations eliminate waste?
When an organization begins to take a lean approach towards continuous improvement they focus on removing waste from every aspect of the organization's value streams. As companies focus on removing waste from within their value stream they create processes that require less capital, less time, less effort from resources and more flexible business processes that respond to customer demand much more efficiently.