Going Beyond Lean Manufacturing

Interesting article over at Supply Chain Digest. Clearly, there is a gap between Lean "manufacturing" and what is considered improvement in from other fields, such as say, supply chain professionals.

What I find interesting is that some Lean pioneers have adopted the concepts underlying lean and adapted it to their environment. These people are effectively blind to this mainstream argument against Lean's ability to be used outside of manufacturing shop floors. See Mark Graban at LeanBlog and pick up his book Lean Hospitals for a unique take on Lean beyond Manufacturing.

Back to the Supply Chain Digest article - contrast adaptations like Lean Hospitals to arguments from the article:

"the reality is that Lean programs often don’t deliver results, or get implemented a bit, but then not really carried forward. As a recent AMR Research report observed, 'Most manufacturers we interviewed confine their Lean projects to a single plant, often right down to a production line or product area.' ”

And that is the program's fault? I beg to differ - Lean doesn't get results, people get results.

There is more:

"But Lean isn’t a panacea. Just the fact that we now have Lean Six Sigma, as companies such as 3M have vigorously pursued, says Lean alone may not be enough. Now it appears we even have something called “TLS,” which adds in Eli Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints (TOC) methodology as another tool, usually front-ending TOC before both Lean and Six Sigma (TOC, Lean, Six Sigma)."

Wow. Anyone who has done their homework on these concepts/theories/methodologies know there is so much overlap that it is difficult to NOT combine them over time. If D-B-R and pull/ kanban systems are not from the same gene pool, my name is mud!

So, my quesiton to blog readers is if there are any supply chain publications out there that have a good grasp of Lean thinking? It would be nice to have a source that has taken Lean beyond manufacturing and is writing about it. Any tips?

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At June 24, 2012 at 3:54 PM , Blogger Mou khan said...

Very insightful article. In regards to Shuttle avionics and possible pilot's errors, does Shuttle still land on manual control? Does not it have any landing automatics? The Russian Buran, which flew only four years after the first Shuttle, did it up there and back on full auto and landed in 10 m/s crosswind in dusty Kazakh steppe with only 1 m deviation from the landing field center line.
How come we cannot do what Russians did 20 years ago with technology that already was behind ours? If the Shuttle is such a close system that it cannot be upgraded to full auto control, than it indeed has to be scraped.

At August 1, 2012 at 2:18 AM , Blogger Doyel mirza said...

Excellent examples of how excess labor can be used to strengthen processes and deliver more value to customers. Why don't more companies see the value in this? I believe it's because of silo thinking and optimizing the silos instead of looking across the entire value stream. Thoughts? lean manufacturing


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