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Leaner and fitter: Growth through waste elimination

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoints practical implications from cutting‐edge research and case studies.


This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.


Where track records go, lean can rub shoulders with the best. From 1920s origins at Henry Ford through various guises such as the renowned Toyota Production System (TPS), lean principles have served as the bible for countless organizations attempting to enhance the design process, fine‐tune production or eliminate waste. Waste in this sense refers to identifying and removing unnecessary steps in organizational systems and processes that naturally evolve to become needlessly intricate. Without effective management of this waste, there is limited scope to improve the service provided to customers. Nevertheless, many leaders continue to hold narrow perceptions and simply equate waste elimination with cost‐cutting. Their organizations inevitably fail to exploit lean's full potential to make a significant difference. Trimming costs has its place, of course. But it also has its limitations.

Practical implications

Provides strategic insights and practical thinking that have influenced some of the world's leading organizations.


The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy‐to‐digest format.



(2008), "Leaner and fitter: Growth through waste elimination", Strategic Direction, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 18-21.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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