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Lean Thinking

Lean Thinking

Lean thinking and lean tools study processes to eliminate waste and thereby increase productivity while conserving costs. Your textbook mentions seven sources of waste: overproduction, idle time, delivery waste, waste in the work, inventory waste, waste in operator motion, and rejected parts (Six Sigma, p. 348). If we can eliminate waste in any of these seven areas, we can provide more value to the customer and improve company performance. There are a number of tools used in process mapping, but we will focus on the five Ss and visual management.

The five Ss are activities that “focus on creating orderliness.” (Six Sigma, p. 353) These five Ss deal with orderliness, arrangement and flow, cleanliness, repetitive motion, and the self-control (which is needed to implement the other four Ss). When the Five Ss are employed, workers have everything needed in place, readily available with no wasted steps, motions, time, or resources.

Visual Management focuses on organization with everything in its proper place, whether this involves a work area, a process, storage, warehouse area, or any type of facility.


1. Review the five Ss. Identify an area in your workplace or in your home. Apply the five Ss. What changes did you make? What results do you see or do you anticipate? How does applying the five Ss to this particular area increase production and decrease waste?

2. Describe a situation at your workplace or in your home where you would use visual management to organize and to improve a work or storage area or a process? How would you tell if a step or an item is out of place? How does such organization improve the process and eliminate waste?

Grading and Assignment Criteria

Five Ss Application


Visual Management Application


Written communication: grammar, syntax, structure, citation




If you use any outside resource, including your textbook, cite this outside resource (including interviews) with APA double citation. This means to cite within your text and provide the full source citation at the end of your paper.
Simply providing a web link is not adequate and will be considered intentional plagiarism.
Failure to properly cite your sources may result in failing this assignment and failing this course.

Note: Intentional or unintentional plagiarism may result in a failing grade in this assignment and in this course.

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