This coincided with Henry Ford’s work in the 1920’s to develop the first comprehensive Lean manufacturing strategy to build the Model T automobile. His focus was on improving assembly lines (an idea he got from meat packing plants) by reducing waste and improving the flow of work. He was heavily influenced by the works of Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Winslow Taylor, and the Gilbreths.

The ideas that would later be called “Lean philosophy” also originated in the early 20th century. In 1934, Sakichi Toyoda changed the family business from textiles to automobile production. Things were not going smoothly, however, and Toyoda sent Taiichi Ohno to America to observe Ford’s methods. Ohno’s experiences and ideas evolved into the Toyota Production System. When Sakichi Toyoda died in 1930, his son Kiichiro officially adopted his business philosophy as Toyota’s way of doing business.