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Lean systems involve doing more with less, i.e., less time, inventory, space, labor, and money. The driving force of lean production is the continuing shift from supply-driven markets led by producers to demand-driven markets led by consumers. This has forced businesses to be more flexible to meet the diverse, rapidly changing demands of consumers while remaining competitive. The main source of lean production systems is the Toyota production system (TPS) developed by the Toyota Motor Company after the Second World War. In the 1980s as Western executives began taking note of Toyota’s success, academia also begun studying and writing about the benefits of this seemingly revolutionary production system. Two of these academics were James P. Womack of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Daniel T. Jones of the University of Cardiff in Wales. They are widely credited for coining the term lean manufacturing to describe the TPS to Westerners.
See also: 5S or good housekeeping; Kaizen; Toyota production system