Guest Post: Lean in the Holy Land – When High Tech and History Merge


Mark's Note: Today's post is by Zohar Benor, CEO of Lean Israel. I've never been to Israel or anyplace else in the Middle East, but it's interesting that Lean is being practiced all throughout the region, in various industries. My book Lean Hospitals is available in Arabic as a free PDF, by the way (and 20% of Israeli citizens speak Arabic, something I just learned). 

By Zohar Benor, CEO, Lean Israel

It is only logical that Israel, the country that combines high tech with 3,000 years of history will embrace the Lean Culture that evolved and developed over the years, while staying loyal to the fundamental basic and simple guiding principles that enabled the Lean culture to make a major impact in various industries and sectors.

The Lean philosophy came to Israel about two decades ago, starting its way in the Israeli Aerospace Industry. Companies started using Lean tools, mainly 5S, visual management and Kanbans for pull & flow lines, but lacked the holistic view and the Lean Culture.

Slowly and gradually, companies came to realize that implementing tools is not enough, as the tools were there but the culture was not. For example, when visiting the lines, you could see control boards last filled a few weeks ago (if not months), fading marks on the floor from a 5S event that was held a year ago and no real change in the work process – still working in the traditional way. These organizations, usually believed that Lean is just not for them.

At that point, managers started looking into Lean from a different point of view, realizing that the two pillars of Lean (continuous improvement and respect for people) are necessary in order to achieve sustainability and accomplish the company's short and long term goals.

After making its way through the manufacturing industry, Lean started spreading to other industries – Services, Healthcare, Logistics and other units in those organizations such as Product Development, Engineering, HR, Administration, Customer Service, and so on. Today, as Lean is flourishing here, you can find numerous organizations that implement the Lean culture in all industries and all sectors. Some leading examples are Elbit systems, Strauss Group, MKS Instruments, Tidhar Group, Tnuva, PM, Stone & Lime and many more. Elbit Systems, Lean is now a part of the strategic business plan and starts at the highest management levels of the company.

Lean Israel, as an organization, has been a part of the Lean scene here in Israel from the beginning, significantly contributing to the shift from a tool-oriented implementation to a wider and deeper people and culture orientation. Our professional Lean leaders were leading Lean implementations in various companies before joining our team, and are now mentoring, coaching, and training managers, and employees to become Lean Leaders. During the past couple of years, we have been leading successful implementations in a variety of organizations from all sectors, as well as founding a Lean Academy where we conduct various Lean courses and certifications.

After an eye opening conversation with a colleague, we came up with the idea for the Lean and Holy Land Tour. This fascinating tour includes visiting some of Israel's leading organizations to witness first-hand how they implement Lean techniques in their day-to-day operations. We will be visiting Bank Hapoalim, Israel's leading Bank, exploring the implementation of Lean in the finance industry; Lime & Stone Production a part of CEMEX industries , Israel's largest producer of aggregates, witnessing Lean implementation in a heavy-duty industry, with a challenging work force; Tidhar Group, a leading construction company that demonstrates one of the more impressive Lean Construction and BIM implementation; Stratasys, a manufacturer of 3D printers and 3D production systems, exploring Lean Strart-up in a high tech company and many more.Along with these professional tours, we will also be visiting some of the biblical and historical sites that Israel has to offer.

For more information about the Lean and Holy Land Fall Tour, please contact us at

About the author: Zohar Benor is the CEO and founder of Lean Israel. Zohar's years of experience have been acquired through a combination of shop floor and executive positions which gave him a unique perspective in the application of Lean philosophy, principles and techniques. Spending time both as a manager and Executive and as a consultant, Zohar has learned that waste comes in many forms. Nonetheless, Zohar's passion remains people and the complex world of changing behavior and flourishing leadership. The companies he worked with attained major productivity gains, increased quality, reduced inventory, improved delivery, customer service, and overall bottom-line improvements driven by a cultural change of leading with respect.

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