3.11.2014

The Discovery of "Lean"

Whoa! I've been out of the blog saddle for a while...been a busy winter.

Speaking of staying busy, Mark Warren has been at it as well. Take a few minutes out of your day to check out this great synopsis about the "Discovery of Lean" by Mark:



I really like the slide above. It best illustrates what is wrong with today's version of lean:

1) We are taught to create work cells because that is lean,
2) The work cells do not really synchronize well,
3) They are not synchronized because the work content is not not balanced,
4) The work is unstable because standards are weak or non-existent,
5) Standards are weak or non-existent because (insert your reason here)

If you follow the chain above in the opposite direction, it is easy to see that people who organize for flow by first creating work standards it is far easier to implement and improve work cell arrangements to be flexible with demand. And of course, Job Instruction is a great place to start with creating work standards.

It is between the parentheses above where leadership can make all of the difference. Managers end up inserting excuses, leaders find the reasons and eliminate them. That is called waste elimination.

Learning to see the waste can be hard, because we are so hyper focused on creating work cells. When the work cells do not work, we resort to old coercive speed up tactics, give up or go back to the old way.

So, I admit it. I'm a purist, the stuff today's Lean is made of is really just a collection of skills and principles applied and developed over 100 years ago. I really like Mark's YouTube video above because it speaks to the validity of principles in systems leadership. I'm curious what all of you think about Mark's story above? Does this resonate? In what way?

(Darn, it is hard to not use the word, "lean")

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