Book tip: “This is Lean” by Niklas Modig & Pär Åhlström

This is Lean – resolving the efficiency paradox:

Niklas Modig and Pär Åhlström has written “This is Lean – Resolving the efficiency paradox” and has since 2011 been translated into 14 languages. The book introduces the idea of the efficiency paradox. This paradox is concerning that is not possible to achieve resource efficiency at the same time with flow efficiency.

Niklas Modig: Researcher at Stockholm School of Economic since 2004
Pär Åhlström: Currently holds the Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg chair in Business Administration at Stockholm School of Economics


This is a great and concise book about Lean. Although, there is a large amount of literature covering Lean Management, the authors offer a greater clarification to Lean.

My three biggest take-away from the book are:

1. Lean is an operations strategy and not a business strategy. A business strategy is focusing on WHAT type of customer needs are we intending to fulfill? The operations strategy is answering HOW is the business strategy going to be realized?

2. Understanding the difference between resource efficiency and flow efficiency. Resource efficiency focuses on resources and the goal is high capacity utilization. Flow efficiency is focusing on the customer and the goal is to fulfill their needs. Flow efficiency is about creating a short through-put time by cutting non-value adding activities (waste).

3. Lean can’t be realized only with methods and tools. The house of Lean consists of 4 layers: Values, principles, methods and tools & activities. The two core principles in Lean are Just-in-time and Jidoka.


This is Lean presentation by Nikals Modig- PDF 1
This is Lean presentation by Niklas Modig – PDF 2
This is Lean Management – Niklas Modig at USI – Video
The Efficiency Paradox – Niklas Modig – TEDxUmeå


  1. Very interesting book. Would like to know more about your ideas regarding the efficiency paradox. Keep up with the good and useful content.

    Liked by 1 person

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