Defining Lean for Services...

There are many stories of successful and unsuccessful Lean experiences in the Services Industry

Defining Lean for Services...

by Rebecca Kennedy, 21 April 2017

Since launching the new Business Improvement in Services arm of CTPM, I’m often asked what is Lean? Particularly as it’s a relatively new term in the Services Industry.

When I was first introduced to the formalised concept of Business Improvement many moons ago, I would often phrase the same question to those I came across, as a way to learn more. Regardless of industry or how far along the Business Improvement journey they were I would receive a wide range of responses from, ‘it’s a way of working’, ‘an approach’, ‘a system’, or ‘a toolbox’, too ‘it’s a method’, ‘a strategy’, or ‘a set of values’.

In addition to their definition I would also receive a very clear Love or Hate vote followed by a story of their experience.

It amazed me that the single word “Lean” could result in such varied responses and opinions. How could this one term have so much buzz in the Business Improvement space yet not have a clearly defined definition. That being the case, how can anyone discuss or learn from each other’s Lean experiences if they are coming from different definitions and understandings. Taking that one step further how can anyone know if they are doing Lean correctly or are successful at it?

At the time, I knew I needed to learn more about this term and find out what it really means and my research led me to the book: “This is Lean – Resolving the Efficiency Paradox” by Niklas Modig & Par Ahlstrom, which does a great job at looking into this conundrum.

Over the next few blogs I will share my key learning’s from this book to build a comprehensive introduction to Lean. Together we will demystify the term Lean and find out exactly how my new Business Improvement in Services area can help you. 

If you would like to learn more about CTPM – The Centre for Australasian TPM & Lean, and our approach to Business Improvement in Services, contact CTPM at