In this chapter I aim to answer the following questions:
1 What is Lean?
2 How does Lean relate to the Toyota Production System (TPS)?
3 What are the underpinning principles of Lean?
4 How does Lean relate to other improvement methodologies such as Six Sigma?
The aim of this chapter is to provide an understanding of the background concepts, philosophies and related information that underpin Lean. Many of the terms I introduce in this chapter will be referenced throughout the rest of the book. I also introduce many of the Japanese terms that are such a familiar part of Lean so that you can see how they fit into the overall picture (definitions for these terms can be found in the Glossary or in Chapter 13).