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Lean Standard System -  by Chris Gray


Second in a Series on Manufacturing Software Standards


The Lean Standard System covers lean manufacturing concepts and closely related topics like performance measurements and integration with planning systems.  It explains the core functionality that must be present in lean software to truly support basic concepts of pull (kanban) and flow. 


The functions described in the Lean Standard System  include those required to support value stream mapping, takt time and EPE Interval calculations, leveling and mixed model scheduling, kanban (pull) systems, visual control boards, supplier scheduling and performance measurements.  It describes the activities that are part of a working lean production environment, as well as an explanation of the some of the assumptions and the experience that led to these functions. 

The book is organized into the following chapters:   

  • Lean Overview

  • Fundamental Calculations of Lean

  • Modeling the Value Stream

  • Leveling

  • Kanban (Demand Pull) Systems and Material Route Design      

  • Visual Control Boards and Kanban Tracking

  • Material Planning and Supplier Scheduling

  • Measures of Performance         

  • Functional Checklists

  • Reference Software Overview and Quick Start         

Soft cover - approximately 200 pages

Reference software and documentation downloadable with book purchase

Reference software showing how the calculations of Lean actually work is provided with the book.  This software was developed in Microsoft Excel and includes:  

  • Kanban Loop Sizing Workbenches

  • Material Route Design Workbench

  • Heijunka Box Examples

  • Mixed Model Scheduling Logic

  • Visual Control Board Displays


The reference software can be downloaded free from the Gray Research website using the instructions provided in chapter 10 of the book.   


Read praise for the Lean Standard System from some of its early readers.  


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Soft cover, pricing in US dollars:  $58.00 per copy 



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Praise for Lean Standard System

I found the book to be very helpful defining the Lean manufacturing basics and the core functionality including some of the visualization tools such as Heijunka. 


Randy Whitehair, Director, Enterprise Resource Planning



You capture the elements that are essential for lean systems and effectively describe how lean software can support and enhance what companies need to embrace visual and electronic lean systems. 


Cindy Walker, Business Systems Competency Leader


Lean Standard System does a superb job of describing the basic requirements and activities needed to make a pull and flow system work.   As a result, this book is an excellent reference tool for people involved in implementing Lean practices.  Chris Gray has succeeded in covering the key aspects of Lean in a manner that is realistic, believable and achievable. 


Daniel Wade, Business Process Architect, Six Sigma Black Belt



This is a book I will add to my reference library.  It serves not only as a reference guide for selecting Lean software but also a reference on Lean methodology.  I think there are a lot of people out there that want to do Lean, but they don't completely know the concepts.  Your book will be a great tool to help in this area. 


John C. Smith, IT Project Manager

Cascade Engineering


 A must read for any IT professional embarking on the Lean journey. Chris demystifies the role of automation in Lean implementations and provides clear and practical working examples on how to leverage software to do the “heavy-lifting” as well as to extend visual signals beyond the four walls of the manufacturing shop floor.

George E. Molchan , Chief Information Officer



Chris takes “lean manufacturing” into the 21st century with clear, easy to follow explanations of how software can and should be an integral part of every company’s journey into lean.  With each chapter he shares the principles and formulas used to calculate and monitor optimal flow in a lean environment.  This book is a must read for any organization that wants to be on the leading edge whether they are just beginning to implement lean, developing software as a lean tool or currently using an IT solution, everyone will benefit from the Lean Standard System.


Daniel Luzi, General Manager

CoorsTek, Inc.


Finally a book that understands the need and importance of production smoothing while incorporating the flexibility of the Heijunka methodology.  

Dean Laughy - Lean Systems and Six Sigma Master Black Belt



The Lean community has been slow to adopt computer systems to support the effort, and rightly so.  Most systems being offered to support Lean are either partial solutions or are off target with the principles of Lean.  Chris has provided a blueprint for what a proper Lean support system needs to include. 

Bill Kerber , President

High Mix Lean


You understand the concepts of Lean.  You're implementing Lean on the shop floor.  10,000 ft. overviews are not what you need anymore ... now you need practical help in moving forward with pull and flow.  The Lean Standard System takes the reader through a methodical, practical application of Lean Material Control systems.  Apply to your specific environment, use it to help you determine products out on the market....whatever your goal, this resource provides a common-sense, straight-forward guide to one of the more challenging and difficult, yet rewarding aspects of Lean implementation - Lean Material Flow. 


David Hartmann Jr., Lean Manufacturing Manager

Johnson Controls-Power Solutions


Chris Gray has written a straight forward, clearly written guide for someone looking for software to improve their lean processes.    The mystery that surrounds many lean concepts and calculations are deftly explained with clear and concise examples of what should be included in lean software and provides practical, hands-on learning to the reader. 


Lean Process Designers and others that may be unsure how software could help them, will have no doubt after reading this book, that not only can software be a critical tool to help with their lean processes but that there is  a measurement to determine if the software they are building/selecting will truly  help them accomplish their lean goals.  Lean Standard System not only identifies the most critical and fundamental concepts of lean manufacturing, but provides a path for leveraging software as tool to support them.


Nicole Groves, Senior Staff Business Requirements Analyst

QAD, Inc.