Thinking of waste and avoidence of waste – some early thoughts

Continuing from the previous success of Arsenal of Venice in the great tradition of manufacturing there are some early thoughts into the lean and lean manufacturing. There are some early thoughts on avoidence of waste which have contributed greatly in their times.
The Great American Author, Scientist, philosopher, Benjamin Franklin has recorded in his poor Richards Almanac, about wasted time. He also mentioned about increasing profits by reducing costs He added that avoiding unnecessary costs could be more profitable than increasing sales: “A penny saved is two pence clear. A pin a-day is a groat a-year. Save and have.”. The same  thoughts continued in his book “The way to wealth”. Here he attacks carrying unnecessary inventory. here is the text  “You call them goods; but, if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap, and, perhaps, they maybe bought  for less than they cost; but, if you have no occasion for them, they must be dear to you”. Another statement form the same book “remember that many have been ruined by buying good penny Worth’s.”  If you look at these statements clearly, these were preaching avoidance of waste and the resulting profitability.
The concept further studied by Franklin Gilberth, who saw that some movements which are waste in the job of a mason. He Saw that the masons bend to pick the bricks and this takes considerable time. Gilberth came up with the scaffold, which reduced the movement and made the bricks available at a waist height. This has resulted in the speed of work.These are some clear early thoughts on eliminating the waste. These became foundation for the lean journey today. In fact, Henry Ford, who was one of the fore fathers of lean thinking got his inspiration form Benjamin Franklin.

The history of lean manufacturing continues. Next we will see the effect of industrial revolution which started around 1750 on the journey of lean.

I would request readers to add the history wherever possible.

Please share this on facebook. if you like this blog, like us on

Originally posted 2012-08-19 12:38:00.

Leave a Reply