Top 5 Companies Who Got Lean Manufacturing Right

Reducing wastage, streamlining production costs and efficiency, and locking the benefits of developing goods suggest lean manufacturing. This method of manufacturing started at the beginning of the 21st century and has displayed results for businesses across major economic verticals.

Lean manufacturing is functional in core industries that involve the production of heavy industrial goods. It can also be regarded as industrial practice.

Intel manufacturing
photo credit: Intel Newsroom

As the term suggests “lean” manufacturing works as per the ideology of streamlining core aspects. Adding value to the existing system in the manufacturing sector, it puts focus on value creation at every level of production of the product.

The lean manufacturing approach helps optimize production strategies and brings efficiency to the overall process in an industry. It combines multiple facets present in a manufacturing entity which enable them to extend or improve their capabilities from a 360-degree perspective.

Let us now look at the top 5 companies globally involved in the practice of lean manufacturing.

1. Toyota

Toyota was among the first companies to introduce the concept of lean manufacturing back in 1922. A renowned name in the manufacturing of automobiles, Toyota brought lean manufacturing into the picture to improve the overall efficiency in production, and check existing processes. The approach was taken up to find better ways to deal with flaws and dependencies.

The approach adopted by Toyota helped in optimizing the production and also gave them an edge to stay above the market competition.

2. Kimberly Clark

Kimberly Clark corporation endorsed lean manufacturing methodology to drive participation of the staff and build productivity levels. By adopting the practice, the corporation brought the lost sheen back into the work management and dealt with crucial issues that were indirectly impacting the performance of the business.

3. Intel

One of the leading chip manufacturing firms, Intel also chose to go for lean manufacturing to improve market launches of new products. With the principles of lean manufacturing, Intel streamlined several aspects of the production of chips. It brought in new strategies to reduce the time for the production of the chip and focus on the macro, as well micro-level aspects of the overall launch process.

4. John Deere

John Deere went the lean manufacturing way early on. Leading name for the production of farm machinery and equipment, the company consciously took up the best practices of lean manufacturing to understand and standardize the need for improved products.

As the market in farm machinery continued to evolve John Deere introduced significant changes into the management and development of products. It enhanced the quality and market penetration by following principles of lean manufacturing for product improvement.

5. Nike

Involved in the production of sports goods and equipment, Nike adopted lean manufacturing for leveraging the lean principles to minimize the impact of products on the environment. With lean manufacturing, Nike developed extensive plans to align the production of its goods in a sustainable manner.

The company made notable changes in the sales and supply of produced goods, leading to a reduction in good’s climate impact.

Toyota lean manufacturing process
photo credit: Toyota Newsroom


The manufacturing sector is vast. The global market size in terms of production and process control in the manufacturing domain swells to USD 86.7 million. It continues to grow at the rate of above 6% CAGR each year, by providing scope to both existing players and new entrants in the sector.

Changing strokes in the global economic scenario and pushing for sustainability goals is an opportune time to explore the principles of lean manufacturing from a fresh perspective. The approach has survived for over five decades and continues to make the manufacturing of goods in alignment with value creation a top priority for driving business growth.

Some of the key principles in the lean approach indicate identification and mapping of value. This extends to processes within and renewal of the same to bring in efficiency and open a new stream of improvement.

As a top priority in the manufacturing domain, lean manufacturing has allowed firms to break down their challenges into small fragments and deal with each aspect individually, to connect with functional business units. This has brought more focus into the sub-domains within a manufacturing entity and deals with multiple challenges from within, rather than looking outward for solutions.

Lean manufacturing has turned notable businesses around the world by making them more competitive and open to global shifts in demand, market capitalization, and innovations.