How to Create a Lean Culture in Your Business

Contrary to popular belief, lean manufacturing is not just a set of principles and techniques. Training on lean and providing the tools are part of the process. But it is not enough. Managing a truly lean business requires a Lean mindset, and this is only possible by creating a Lean culture. The goal of Lean manufacturing culture is to eliminate waste and inefficiencies while maximizing value to customers. Lean thinking is a model that first emerged in the manufacturing sector, but many of the Lean principles are now being applied in many different sectors. In this blog post we will look at how to implement Lean Culture in your business.

What is Lean Manufacturing?

Lean manufacturing is a production philosophy that aims to create value through the elimination of wasteful factors. This approach is customer-oriented and aims for maximum efficiency with minimum resource utilization. Its basic principles include continuous improvement, value stream analysis, pull system and employee involvement. These principles allow businesses to reduce costs and improve quality by identifying and eliminating waste in production processes.

What is Lean Culture?

Every company has a unique culture. Company culture encompasses many factors such as the company’s personality, values, beliefs, attitudes and practices. A company that adopts a lean philosophy creates a very different culture than a traditional business when it comes to operational approaches, practices and values. This is because lean manufacturing culture embraces efficiency, continuous improvement, waste reduction and customer value at all levels of a company.

Let’s take an example of the approaches of companies that adopt a lean thinking culture and a traditional company culture:

  • A traditional company focuses on producing in bulk quantities; Lean is built around the principles of a value stream & pull, where production is based on demand and value is determined by the customer.

Companies that adopt Lean culture have some common characteristics. These characteristics are as follows:

  • The most important principle of Lean Thinking is continuous improvement.
  • Respect for people is very important.
  • Employee experiences, skills and knowledge are used for continuous improvement processes.
  • The main objective in business processes is to find and eliminate all kinds of waste and create value.
  • Continuous improvement is always ongoing. It never ends.

Key Approaches of Lean Manufacturing Culture

Lean company culture has four basic approaches.

  1. Continuous Improvement
  2. Lean Leaders
  3. Corporate Compliance
  4. Customer Orientation

Let us now examine these dimensions closely:

1. Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is one of the cornerstones of lean culture. In a lean company, all employees are looking for ways to do their jobs better and improve performance. This encourages employees and managers to take small but effective steps to continuously improve processes.

It is important in a Lean culture that employees from different departments come together to address existing problems and find solutions. Therefore, lean thinking requires the active participation of all employees and emphasizes the need to work in collaboration.

2. Lean Leaders

Lean leaders are people who support the adoption and maintenance of a lean culture. They lead the lean process because of the respect they earn. They encourage lean thinking within the company through factors such as communication, training and rewarding.

3. Corporate Compliance

Organizational alignment refers to the integration of lean culture into all organizational processes. It requires the alignment of lean principles with the organization’s strategies, goals and values. However, this is not enough. The adoption of lean culture throughout the organization also requires employees to work in cooperation towards a common goal.

4. Customer Orientation

One of the most important approaches of lean culture is customer orientation. Companies that adopt lean culture always prioritize customer needs and expectations. One of the main objectives of lean manufacturing is to create value for the customer.

Why Lean Culture Matters

Customer satisfaction increases their loyalty and they are willing to pay for products from suppliers that provide better service and meet their needs. Lean methods help manufacturers focus on customer expectations by identifying which products, features, processes and activities are important to customers. It eliminates or minimizes unnecessary elements. This increases customer value and improves companies’ profitability and competitiveness.

What are the Benefits of Lean Culture?

Lean culture ensures the permanent implementation of Lean principles and techniques in an organization. The permanence of Lean offers many benefits to businesses.

  • Maximizes customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
  • It ensures that the business has happier and more motivated employees.
  • Helps reduce waste and increase profitability.
  • Improves product quality.
  • Increases productivity in every area.
  • Helps to get one step ahead of competitors by increasing competitiveness in the market.
  • Ensures long-term and sustainable growth.

5 Key Steps to Promote a Lean Manufacturing Culture

To initiate change and create a lean culture by applying lean principles and techniques in your business, you need to be able to see waste and opportunities. Seeing waste and opportunities does not only require the efforts of managers, but the whole company needs to adopt this process.

Some of the steps you can take to create a lean culture are as follows:


All employees across the company need to understand why they should adopt this new culture and what benefits they will reap as a result. This process is only possible with a leader who has adopted Lean principles. Leaders’ behaviors, values and guidance ensure that employees follow the process. Employees who follow the behavior of leaders are the employees who will contribute to the change of the company culture. Therefore, leadership support is very important in the process of creating a Lean culture.


The second step is to communicate with employees. Leaders should gather the whole team together and explain why they want to create a lean culture. Explanations about the expected results with lean, when to start these efforts and how to do them will remove the uncertainty in the minds of employees.

Operational Excellence Goals

It is necessary to set operational excellence goals that will enable the company to stand out from its competitors and communicate them clearly to all employees. By giving clear answers to the question of what we are aiming to achieve here, you should ensure that these goals serve as guidelines for all employees

What is important here is that the objectives are impressive. In other words, the goals should be comprehensive and focus on processes rather than results. When you improve your processes, your results will automatically improve as you get closer to these goals. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your goals are achievable and inspiring.

Changing the Structure for a Lean Culture

In the process of creating a lean culture, it is not enough just to set goals. Companies that want to change culture need to make organizational changes to achieve the goals they set. Adopting lean manufacturing requires a shift from a batch and push approach to a flow and pull operation. This transition means that you need to change your physical organizational structure early on, moving from functional departments based on the same type of equipment to value stream teams.

Fostering a Continuous Learning Environment

Continuous improvement is based on employees participating in learning processes and choosing to maximize their performance. In a lean culture, company leaders support each employee to continuously acquire new skills and develop their careers. This development-oriented approach encourages employees to be proactive in continuously improving organizational processes. This employee commitment to improvement plays an important role in improving the overall performance of the business.

Continuous Improvement Solution & Lean Manufacturing Platform provides a single and digital platform for continuous improvement, kaizen, OHS, quality management and lean manufacturing processes carried out by businesses in different environments. The platform offers a common workspace for 7 different modules to work in an integrated manner.

  1. Suggestion System Solution: Enables the processes of collecting, evaluating and rewarding suggestions from employees.
  2. Kaizen Solution: It ensures that all details related to Kaizen, such as the situations before and after Kaizen and the economic effects of the work done, are carried out digitally.
  3. 5S Audit Management Solution: It enables businesses to plan, execute and report 5S control audits on a digital platform.
  4. Near-Miss Reporting Solution: Ensures that potential risks in production processes are identified in advance and corrective measures are taken.
  5. Action Management Solution: It enables the creation of actions related to improvement processes, assigning responsible persons and instant monitoring of action status.
  6. Lessons Learned Management Solution: Ensures that all information obtained by employees during improvement processes is recorded and that this information is easily accessible when needed.
  7. Help Desk Solution: Ensures that customer requests are collected and evaluated from a single place.

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