The History of Lean in the UK

And What We’ve Done

We’ve been involved in the history and development of lean in the UK for over 40 years. That’s before we conducted the research that coined the term. Here are some key moments in its development in the U.K. alongside the thought leading action learning activities we’ve been involved with:

1984

Dan Jones & Jim Womack co-write “The Future of the Automobile”

The book identifies the performance gap between Western and Japanese auto producers.

Nissan Factory Opens

The U.K. learns more about Japanese management practices as the first Japanese factory opens

September 1986
1990

“Machine” is launched revealing the performance advantage of lean producers.

Benchmarking the lean system.

Honda’s car factory opens.

Honda had built cars with BL – the first being the Triumph Acclaim. Now they would start vehicle production.

1992
December, 1992

Toyota’s factory opens

Toyota’s first UK built car, the Carina E, drives off the Burnaston production line.

Lean Enterprise Research Centre launched

Dan Jones establishes the World’s first research centre dedicated to Lean Thinking

1993
1993

Supply Chain Development Programme

Dan’s team conduct action research into improving supply chain performance using lean thinking.

International Car Distribution Programme

Dan helps launch icdp. Automotive research downstream of the factory gates..

1993
1993

Unipart “U” launched

The first UK in-company university – Dan Jones is Dean.

Womack & Jones write their first HBR articles

The article introduces the term value stream and a new organisational model: the lean enterprise.

March, 1994
1995

Supply chain improvement begins

The lessons learned transform grocery distribution & FMCG.

The journey to articulate Lean principles begins.

Jim Womacklaunch their landmark best selling book. Still a classic for lean thinkers.

1996
1996

SMMT’s Industry Forum

Industry Forum launched to improve the performance and effectiveness of the UK’s automotive supply chain.

Beyond Toyota: How to Root Out Waste and Pursue Perfection

The 2nd HBR article includes the landmark Lantech case.

September, 1996
1997

Lean Processing Project (LEAP)

Steel to auto supply chain research. UK & Japanese supply chains benchmarked.

Rethinking Construction

Daniel Jones was a member UK Government Task Force that introduced lean to the construction industry .

1998
1998

Ground-breaking research published.

How to improve new car supply & stocking. Uncovering lean car parts distribution & the first research into lean in car dealers.

The First UK Lean Summit

Speakers include Dan Jones & Jim Womack. John Shook launches Learning to See in Europe. Companies include Nissan, Unipart & Tesco.

1998
1999

Movement for Innovation in Construction

Sharing of pilot projects using lean construction.

Lean Processing Programme Research published

David Taylor & David Brunt edit the research.

2001
2001

Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) International Commerce Review launched

NHS Modernisation Agency

Paves the way for lean thinking in the NHS

2001
2002

DTI manufacturing Advisory Service launched

Seeds lean thinking, particularly in SMEs

Seeing the Whole published

The first edition of our research into lean supply chain design.

2002
2003

Lean Enterprise Academy Launched

Dan leaves Cardiff University and establishes the not for profit LEA.

First Lean Service Summit, Amsterdam

This was the first Lean Initiative from the Lean Enterprise Academy, together with the Lean Management Institutes in Germany and Holland, to spread lean beyond the shop floor.

2004
2004

The Toyota Way

Jeffrey Liker book published.

LEA publishes Ian Glenday’s Breaking through to Flow

Lean in process FMCG.

2005
2005

Lean Consumption

The third HBR article introduces lean consumption.

RAF Fast Jet Programme

Introduces lean thinking to repair and overhaul.

2005
2005

Bolton Hospital

Begins it’s lean journey.

Frontiers of Lean Summit

Explains lean consumption and the forthcoming Lean Solutions book

2005
2006

Lean Thinking for the NHS

In 2006 the Lean Enterprise Academy was approached by the NHS confederation. We were asked to look at how Toyota’s approach to production could be applied to healthcare. This led to the Lean Thinking in the NHS report.

Lean Healthcare Forums for the NHS

We organised 3 events throughout the year where healthcare professionals came together to learn and share about lean.

2006
2007

Creating Lean Dealers

LEA publishes a book about lean in sales and service.

Lean Solutions launched

The ground breaking book on lean consumption and provision.

2007
2007

1st Global Lean Healthcare Summit

This Summit was a landmark event for the lean healthcare movement around the world. The event sold out with 320 people (over half from hospitals) attending from 147 organizations from the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Poland, Switzerland, France, USA, Canada, Brazil, India, South Africa, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

National Audit Office reviews lean across government

Dan Jones and the LEA team provide assistance to government to understand the effectiveness of attempts to introduce lean across government.

2007
2008

Lean Transformation Summit, London

Our annual event was held at the QEII Conference Centre.

Making Hospitals Work

LEA publishes the book that helps redesign patient flows.

2009
2009

Healthcare Transformation Summit

Moving beyond rapid improvement events.

LEA launches its Lean Healthcare network

Working in a number of NHS trusts this research club was formed to create experiments in end-to-end patient care.

2010
2010

Managing to Learn Launched

Toyota’s A3 process is explained in the book. Dan Jones and Dave Brunt are amongst the network that help John Shook write the story.

2011

Seeing the Whole 2nd Edition

We updated our supply chain book with a host of cases that we had helped.

LEA helps explain the use of oobeya

Takashi Tanaka and Sharon Tanner help us explain the use of oobeya for product development and in executive offices..

2011
2011

Solving Business Problems

Our annual event asked what the most important next steps for the lean movement to address were.

2012

Lean Summit – Learning, Educating, Sharing

We launched our three core processes and a new website (the previous one to this.) Mike Rother keynoted this event explaining his Toyota Kata book.

Lean Leadership Research Launched

Dave Brunt, John Shook, Jim Luckman, Joe Murli and members of LGN conduct research in the topic. Dave summarises the findings.

2012
2013

We develop our Lean Sharing Days

The first takes place at Cardiff Metropolitan University with our old friend Nick Rich.

Frontiers and Fundamentals

At our Lean Summit, we welcome Art Byrne to the UK. Executive at Wiremold and Danaher and author of The Lean Turnaround, he shares his story. The event also starts our relationship with Toyota Lean Management Centre, based at Deeside.

November 2013

More to follow. Pop back soon as we will be adding more content.