In this blog series, I will be discussing Lean Methodology, its practical solutions to problem-solving and how to successfully implement this approach in a creative industry. Lean has recently begun to make its way into the marketing industry and its impact is already being felt. Before we explore the specifics of Lean Marketing, we must lay the foundation.


What is Lean?

Modern Lean Methodology is a time tested, proven approach to solving problems and improving process by reducing waste that maximizes value to the customer. Simply put Lean is based on two simple concepts; respect for people and continuous improvement. The University of Iowa defines a healthy Lean culture as one that starts at the top and “encourages individuals and challenge preconceptions about the way they do what they do.”

Some believe that Lean results in more work for some and elimination of positions for others. On the contrary, true Lean methodology seeks improvement through continuously reducing waste, unevenness, and overburden while continuously enhancing value proposition and people.


A Brief History

The roots of Lean Manufacturing (Just In Time) originated with Henry Ford and influenced by Eli Whitney with the concept of interchangeable parts. The origins of modern Lean derives from the Toyota Production System (TPS) which Maximizes “production efficiency through elimination of waste”. Following Toyota’s lead, many industries have adopted Lean Methodology and Continuous Improvement including Manufacturing, Healthcare, Banking, and Marketing.



From the customer’s perspective, everything a company does either adds value or does not. In Lean, if something consumes time or resources and does not add value it is identified as waste. If you can identify waste you can remove or reduce it in processes. Below are the 8 wastes that occur in processes.

Defects – Effort initiated by rework or incorrect information

Overproduction – Production that is complete before it is needed or more than what was necessary

Waiting – Time waiting on the next step in a process

Non-Utilized People Potential – Not or underutilizing the abilities, knowledge, and skills of the team

Transportation – Excessive or unnecessary movement of materials or products

Inventory – Excess products and materials that are not being processed or utilized

Motion – Unnecessary movement by people

Extra-Processing – More work or more quality than what was needed for the job

The acronym in the 8 wastes above spells out DOWNTIME, which is exactly the effect of waste on an organization. A reduction of waste and downtime increases productivity and value to the customer. The High Road Agency thrives to reduce waste by adopting Lean Methodology and Continuous Improvement into our processes and culture. Contact me at fred@thehighroadagency.com if you are interested in experiencing how we are different.