'Leanability' - TWI Guest Blogger: Sean Jordan

TWI Blog reader and friend, Sean Jordan, weighs in on lean failure rates and how to judge the 'lean-ability' of an organization:

“How do we judge failure?” Well, I am thinking that judging failure means that we failed to achieve a standard. Hmm, what is the standard for Lean? [I love IW’s Lean survey from March, 2008. As I think out loud, do the survey respondents really understand what their Lean initiative was supposed to achieve?)

When I evaluate ‘Lean-ability’, I want to know about the popular 4 P’s in your organization: Philosophy, People, Problem Solving, and Process. If you can improve (at any pace) to solve problems AND sustain the advances, then you are being successful. Organizations are different, so the pace of change should be set accordingly. With good leadership, a strong Hoshin can be set to achieve a balance of Safety, Quality, Cost, Delivery, Value and Teamwork.

The blog post about the next 3 M’s of Lean are linked to the Lean Failure rate post. Judging the failure of Lean means breaking the Myth. Perhaps SME, AME, NIST MEP, and others should go on the attack about breaking the Myth? Perhaps one popular topic floating around the Lean world that should be banned is “The Next Generation of ….(sorry, I started to throw up in my mouth a little bit) “The Next Generation of Lean.” Here’s an idea, let everyone know that implementing the 4 P’s is hard and can appear boring. Yet is rather effective and fun if done properly. Recently Toyota learned about getting away from its steadfast philosophy.

Finally, I myself am trying to reduce using the word Lean. The myth and assumptions about Lean are so vast that the work itself is a distraction from starting an effective conversation. After working with hundreds of companies, I found mentioning the word ‘Lean’ creates unneeded drama as compared to mentioning ‘let‘s solve some problems and get better.’ Sometimes, when someone calls me the ‘Lean Guy,’ chills go down my spine and everyone looks at me like I’m the lawyer on television at 3 a.m.

Cheers! Let go solve more problems!


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At June 30, 2009 at 2:54 PM , Blogger Darrin Thompson said...

While we are avoiding the loaded word "Lean", let's all resolve to use the English language for naming concepts.

I hearby ban Takt, Kanban, Kaizen, Lean, and most importantly Shitsuke from polite conversation.

Lets go solve more problems.

At June 30, 2009 at 3:14 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Blasphemer!!!! :)

At June 30, 2009 at 3:16 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

What catchy English words would replace takt, kanban, kaizen, teian and kaikaku? Oh, the problems we Leansters are forced to confront!


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