“The Lean Manager” by Michael & Freddy Balle: Book Summary

1 Line Summary

“The Lean Manager: A Novel of Lean Transformation” is a book written by Michael Ballé and Freddy Ballé that presents the key principles of Lean management in a story format.

What Will You Learn

Here are some of the benefits of reading The Lean Manager:

  • You will learn about the principles of lean management.
  • You will see how lean principles can be applied in a real-world setting.
  • You will learn how to overcome the challenges of implementing lean.

Best Quotations from the Book

  • “The goal of lean is not to eliminate waste, but to create value.” This quote highlights the fact that lean is not just about cutting costs. It is about creating more value for customers. This can be done by eliminating waste, but it can also be done by improving quality, reducing lead time and increasing flexibility.
  • “The best way to learn lean is to do lean.” This quote emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience in lean transformation. It is not enough to read about lean or to attend seminars. You need to get out there and start doing it.
  • “Lean is a journey, not a destination.” This quote reminds us that lean is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process of improvement. There is always more that can be done to improve efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction.
  • “The most important thing is to start.” This quote is a call to action. Even small changes can make a big difference.
  • “Don’t be afraid to fail.”

Book Summary

Principles of Lean Management

The principles of lean management are:

  • Define value: What does the customer value?
  • Identify the value stream: How is value created for the customer?
  • Eliminate waste: Anything that does not add value to the customer is waste.
  • Create flow: Material and information should flow smoothly through the value stream.
  • Pull: Products and services should be pulled through the value stream by the customer.
  • Perfection: Strive for continuous improvement.

The book also emphasizes the importance of leadership, teamwork, and a culture of continuous improvement in lean transformation.


  • Define value: The first step in lean management is to define what the customer values. This means understanding the customer’s needs and wants, and then designing products and services that meet those needs.
  • Identify the value stream: Once you know what the customer values, you need to identify the value stream. This is the process that creates value for the customer. It includes all the steps from the initial concept of a product or service to the final delivery to the customer.
  • Eliminate waste: Once you have identified the value stream, you need to eliminate waste. Waste is anything that does not add value to the customer. This includes things like waiting time, defects, and unnecessary steps.
  • Create flow: Once you have eliminated waste, you need to create flow. This means that material and information should flow smoothly through the value stream. This can be done by balancing the workload, reducing batch sizes, and using pull systems.
  • Pull: Pull systems are a way of organizing production so that products and services are only produced when they are needed. This helps to eliminate waste and to create a more responsive production system.
  • Perfection: Lean is a journey, not a destination. Once you have implemented the lean principles, you need to continue to improve on a continuous basis. This means constantly looking for ways to eliminate waste and to create more value for customers.

Lean management is a powerful tool that can help organizations to improve their efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction. However, it is important to remember that lean is not a quick fix. It is a long-term commitment that requires the involvement of everyone in the organization.

If you want to learn how to transform your organization through lean principles, then read The Lean Manager. It’s the book that will show you how it’s done.

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Refer Related Summaries:

  1. Extreme Ownership”,
  2. How to Lead Smart People”,
  3. The 360-Degree Leader”,
  4. Dare to Lead”,
  5. The 4 Disciplines of Execution”,
  6. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and
  7. Relation between Self Awareness and Effective Leadership

1 thought on ““The Lean Manager” by Michael & Freddy Balle: Book Summary”

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