Lean Manufacturing is a concept that all manufacturers strive for. In essence, lean manufacturing is an economic philosophy that is based on the assumption that wasted resources slow productivity and reduce a companies profits. "Resources" in this case covers both material and immaterial assets, for example time, efficiency, raw materials, energy, storage, and capacity. The goal of lean manufacturing is to be as sensitive and responsive to customer demand as possible, and at the same time produce competitive high-quality products at the lowest possible cost.
An example of lean manufacturing in action is the way that automakers structure their production process, called "Just In Time". This production process originated with the Toyota Production System, which was invented by the company founder Sakichi Toyoda and production specialist Taiichi Ohno that had as its prime consideration the total elimination of waste.
Toyota's managers discovered that removing waste from the production process sped up the flow of products while raising the quality of each individual product. As these values were refined, the result was that products were produced in the shortest time possible and at the lowest cost while maintaining the highest possible level of quality. This is lean manufacturing at it's greatest. This is what companies strive to accomplish.