Can Lean Grow Your Business?
Here is a source discussing this very question: Market Watch
I find this to be article and the opinions of the consultants to be on target. For example, if flexibility is built into the process here domestically, this gives your business a distinct advantage over Chinese competitors.
Example: Natural disaster areas in the U.S. In preparing for events, homeowners need many essential materials - tools, tarps, plywood, nails, flashlights, batteries, etc.
Being able to respond to a spike in demand due to disaster in under one week is a huge advantage over a +4 week on-the-water time from Chinese suppliers.
In order to do so, your manufacturing house needs to be in order. Processes need to be stable, standard work in place, low WIP inventories, etc. We often get the selling part down cold - but the areas that businesses typically fail in is regarding the commitment to JIT and standard work.
Job Instruction is extremely helpful in getting people to quickly establish a standardized work routine that creates stability in the JIT process. Remember, in this market your sales people are selling more than just a low price product. It's all about quick turnaround, high quality and flexibility. So, your process better be able to deliver.