Lean Manufacturing

Celebrating Over 500 Years of Lean Thinking

By Jon Miller Updated on May 16th, 2017


Since 1997 the Lean Enterprise Institute (www.lean.org) has helped to popularize and spread lean thinking worldwide through book publishing, seminars, conferences and many other ways. LEI has been especially generous in sharing their LeanTimeline08.pdf with all of us. This timeline traces the development of lean thinking from the 1500s onward, beginning with flow production in the Venetian arsenal. This attractive visual aid will surely be useful in answering any skeptic who asks, “What’s this new “lean” theory all about and who else has actually put it into practice?”
The 1MB PDF file can be downloaded by clicking on the image or the link above.

  1. Ethan

    February 9, 2009 - 2:03 pm

    Not sure why this timeline:
    + Had to be 1MB (hardly “lean”)
    + Had to be printer unfriendly (or seemingly so, maybe it prints neatly onto 3-4 sheets of paper – but see 1st bullet)

  2. Ralf Lippold

    February 9, 2009 - 2:04 pm

    Hi Jon,
    I am so greatful that you have twittered that info. It shows that we use a word for something that is alround human history for centuries:-))
    Thanks so much.
    Best regards and perhaps see you at “Lean Thinking”

  3. Andy Wagner

    February 16, 2022 - 5:41 pm

    Hey, I need a copy of this but the link is broken!

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