Toyota Production System or TPS. The term "lean" was coined by Dan Jones and Jim Womack in their 1996 classic Lean Thinking.
"combines the advantage of craft and mass production, while avoiding the high cost of the former and the rigity of the latter." (from: The Machine that Changed the World, quoted after Rifkin, End of Work, p.96)
The system of organization production developed in japan that stresses quick tool changeover times, minimum parts and work-in-progress inventories, high levels of quality and continuous improvement.
A philosophy of production that emphasizes the minimization of the amount of all the resources (including time) used in the various activities of the enterprise. It involves identifying and eliminating non-value-adding activities in design, production, supply chain management, and dealing with customers. Lean producers employ teams of multiskilled workers at all levels of the organization and use highly flexible, increasingly automated machines to produce volumes of products in potentially enormous variety. It contains a set of principles and practices to reduce cost through the relentless removal of waste and through the simplification of all manufacturing and support processes. Syn: lean, lean manufacturing.
Many manufacturers have moved toward a new way of manufacturing called lean production, which enables them to produce a greater variety of high quality products at lower cost, in less time, using less labor. Among the elements of this new system are just-in-time production, stricter quality control, frequent and reliable delivery from supplier, supplies locating closer to major customers, computerized purchasing systems, stable production schedules made available to suppliers, and single sourcing with early supplier involvement.