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Lean manufacturing: Will it turn businesses into apps?

Lean manufacturing embodies the old adage, ‘less is more’. Will its influence see more businesses starting from app-based models?

As a production system, lean manufacturing focuses on maximising services through eliminating waste in the forms of time and resources.

Today, it’s developing into an integral part of business models that no longer rely on the physical parameters of space, or even extensive human interaction.

In this age of exponential growth, the race for profit and innovation ties business and technology inexorably together.

Therefore, business models are continually searching for novel ways to increase corporate efficiency, while also staying ahead of competitors.

Lean manufacturing for innovative business

Far from a new industry term, lean manufacturing originated in Toyota’s Production System. Its goal was to maximise resources, eliminate waste, and optimise time.

While its premise hasn’t fundamentally changed, technological advancement has revitalised its applications.

Lean manufacturing still seeks efficiency. However, the focus is delivering services to the consumer in the most direct way possible.

Through technological innovation, lean manufacturing brings value to both consumers and companies.

Furthermore, this production system is a core aspect of emerging business models due to its fluid adaptation to Smart devices.

Companies that aim for ongoing relevancy must focus their efforts on responsive programming accessed via phone, or tablet.

Airbnb, Uber, and Monzo are three business models that are harnessing lean manufacturing, and dismantling traditional market landscapes.


Described as an online marketplace, Airbnb is a prime example of lean manufacturing benefiting both the consumer, and business owner.

Additionally, consumers can do more than access its dedicated site. In line with the global dependence on smart devices, they can plan the trip of a lifetime through the company’s app.

A community of property owners and accommodation seekers, it’s the go-to choice for those desiring quality at an affordable premium.

However, it’s more than just an alternative to a hotel. Experience is also key. Travelers, especially Millennials, want to know what it feels like to ‘live’ in their travel destinations. Part of Airbnb’s service is ensuring authenticity and uniqueness.

Furthermore, the global lodging brand is targeting business individuals. More than 30% of travelers since 2014 used Airbnb for work.


This transportation tool is reminiscent of Airbnb in that neither company owns the physical resources that provide their services.

Airbnb doesn’t own any property, and Uber doesn’t own any cars. Rather, the vehicles belong to a third party, or the drivers themselves.

However, Uber is a purely app based service, unlike Airbnb.

A customer requests a nearby driver through the GPS-based app. The GPS system also tracks the journey’s progress, the status of which the customer can share via their phones.

Uber automatically receives payment at the end of the ride through the registered bank account of the passenger.

Neither the client nor the driver needs to exchange details for the service to be carried out, except for idle chit-chat.

Uber Eats is now part of its business portfolio, where a courier delivers food from third party restaurants.


Users can only access this app-based bank through a Smart device. As such, it represents lean manufacturing’s usage of technology to render valuable services through the effective use of resources.

Users don’t have to physically enter a bank to register with Monzo, as the entire process is done via the app.

Monzo’s banking system registers transactions in real time, whereas traditional banks may take days to update a card payment.

Instead of simply reflecting outgoing payments, Monzo also tracks spending habits in categories such as Eating Out, Groceries, etc.

As a practice, lean manufacturing is proving to be innovative, cost-efficient, and user friendly in the right business models.

Technological innovation is increasing market entry for start-ups and entrepreneurs. It would be no surprise therefore, to see lean manufacturing in app-based companies, and services going beyond traditional expectations.

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