I have: 厂里组织了几次丰田生产模式的培训,她逐渐了解了精益生产模式。

The online dictionaries I use don't give 精益 as a word, but I'm pretty sure it means 'optimum' here. I find '精益求精‘ roughly 'always trying to improve' but I don't think that is the meaning here.

Any tips please?

  • dictionaries have 精益生产(Lean Manufacturing), see e。g。 iciba, baidu
    – user6065
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 0:28
  • It's a Japanese phrase? I assume it's not ‘侧‘ 的 ’lean', so it means 'thin production'?
    – Pedroski
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 0:40
  • @Pedroski I don't think it's Japanese though the concept may started there. In Japanese it's called リーン生産方式 where リーン is phonetical spelling for lean in hiragana (not sure why it's not in katakana which is not commonly used to spell out loanwords). And 精益生产 is thetranslation for the same terminology in Chinese. Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


Native speaker.

In this context, 精益生产 is simply the translation of lean in lean manufactureing. So it means what ever lean means in the terminology, which can also be translated as 精实生产.

I don't think 精益 is a standard word (at least not a common one) except when used in 精益求精 and MBA terminologies like 精益生产、精益创业.

In 精益求精, you can understand 精 as the quality of being perfected, fine or exquisite. 益 means "even more". 求 as pursuing. So rather literally, the phrase can be roughly understood as "pursuing perfection even more when it's already perfect".

  • Thanks. 'lean' here means 'no frills, nothing unecessary' which is 'optimal'. Could I say '优化的生产过程‘??
    – Pedroski
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 0:51
  • 1
    @Pedroski I'm don't really know those MBA terminologies. If you think Lean Manufacturing means optimise manufacture process, then I think you can explain it that way. A quick wikipedia (Chinese version) look up says it originated from Toyotism and a big part of it is to avoid waste or something and transfer more values to the end user or something. To me this does sound like a way of optimise production process, but I'm not sure if the optimisation is the core value of the lean manufacturing or it has be certain type of optimisation. So this is beyond a language question now. Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 0:54

精益 is not really one word. It is actually a combination of:

  1. , meaning "pureness"
  2. , meaning "benefit", i.e. profit.

Combining the two gives us something like "purely beneficial (to the bottom line)". This is similar enough to the "lean manufacturing"'s idea of "no unnecessary frills" to serve as a translation.

Since 精益生产 is an established (more or less) translation for "lean manufacturing", 精益 can be considered a noun and an abbreviation. But the above breakfown is where the root of the translation comes from.

This is different from the phrase 精益求精, where means "good" or "high quality" and is an adverb meaning "further more". That is, "already high quality but seeking further improvements".

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