Stigmergy is a mechanism comprising a sensing agent that responds to the settings of the environment by performing an action. Lean is defined as a philosophy that aims at eliminating waste in production processes without compromising value. The two concepts appear in the literature as independent with little attempts to study a possible relation between them. The purpose of the paper is to explore synergies between two seemingly distinct concepts. This is performed by investigating both Stigmergy and Lean separately, transforming each notion into its dynamic functional system, and comparing the functions of each against one another. Findings reveal that the natural mechanisms of Stigmergy can facilitate the operations of a Lean environment. Organizations can enhance performance by realizing and implementing some of the overlapping features between Stigmergy and Lean.
Lean management principles, Stigmergy, agents, environment, dynamics, actuators, sensors