What Is The Stability Principle?

Lean Principle 2 – Stability

Goal: Build excess capacity for strategic use



The purpose of stability is to provide a stable platform for the pillars of Lean: Just In Time and Build in Quality.

Stability, when in place, will provide the organisation with the ability to absorb shocks in the marketplace and enable future strategies as it provides excess capacity to the organisation.


  • Provide a fact-based understanding of the issues facing the organisation
  • Provide the systems, processes and tools to the first line to eliminate waste
  • Enable product to flow through the process as efficiently as possible
  • Provide visual management for root cause analysis

geneo-lean-operating-model-staility enables strategy

Stability in a Lean context means a number of things.

Firstly, that an organisation requires a ‘one best way’ for any particular task in a process in order for there to be a baseline to improve upon.  This takes the form of Standardised Work, a system for building effective Standard Operating Procedures in the workplace.

Secondly, the need for a visual workplace where abnormalities can be spotted immediately is important to underpin improvements and create a safe working environment. Probably the most well-known term in Lean is 5S and how it helps to improve our working environment with good workplace organisation.

Thirdly, asset care is essential to have a stable process.  We need our equipment to perform to the best of its ability, to the same quality and speed that we agreed to when the asset was purchased.  Total Productive Maintenance, an asset care programme, forms an integral part of the Stability Principle.

Lastly, we not only need our assets to perform but we also need them to enable agile processes and promote better flow.  Quick Change Over (QCO), a key aspect of Stability, ensures the process does not have to carry more inventory than is truly required by squeezing downtime for change-overs in product and converting it into lower inventory holdings.  QCO is now a popular approach for analysing all aspects of waste in the process.

These four aspects form the Stability Principle and help to drive waste out of the process, identify the ‘one best way’ to keep the waste out and keep the process performing at its best.  This provides a predictability for leadership when projecting forwards into the future and building effective business plans.


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