"Ignore Lean - Perfect the Product"
Here is some advice offered by Lord Bhattacharyya, founder of the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and a government advisor on engineering policy in the UK.
Much of Bhattacharyya's stance is aligned with the challenge of facing climate change, quoting research from the Tyndall Centre that claims UK government targets fall short of keeping global temperature rise below 2◦C by 2020.
Never mind that over 30,000 American scientists warn (15x more scientists than associated with the U.N. IPCC) that it is dangerous to make policy with science that is assumed to be "an inconvenient truth"...Bhattacharyya's claim goes on to state that we need to "ignore Lean and process innovation" until our products are perfected for dealing with climate change, among other things. I suppose this means everything should be green. Great idea...I'm all for it.
But, Bhattacharyya gives us the typical desk/academic engineering solution to our world's problems: perfection and innovation is an engineering thing, keep your process improvement arse out of it! Now that we have seen the light, what are the rest of us supposed to do? I suppose we, the "process innovators", should just run the machines and put green parts together as the engineers designed them, which of course, are perfect and incidentally meet market needs perfectly as well since the government, who makes the green policy, is so in touch with consumers.
O.k., I'm game. Let's assume we have perfect green products. Now what? Be afraid, be very afraid. Because without the pursuit of management innovations (e.g., LEAN) your perfect green world is is subject to a certain law of nature that trumps all government policy, scientific petitions, and activism: entropy and human nature - things fall apart if we don't have processes in place to maintain and improve. Management innovation can never be at its best without product and process innovation. We are talking about three legged stools here folks. To say that one trumps the other two is simply foolish. If we do not nurture this arrangement and keep it in balance, through management innovations, the result is pure chaos.