Rethinking Lean-Not Just The Shop Floor

Now is the time for innovationthroughout our organizations, not just the shop floor. Today we’ll provide you with a free “Tool You Can Use” courtesy of  Knowledge @ Wharton and  Boston Consulting Group.

Beyond lean 007v1

Another piece of the competitiveness puzzle.

“When people think about lean, they often associate it with reducing the workforce. But the cost is not in the line labor, its in the overhead. The most important thing  is the seamless integration of everything that goes into the production.” -Adam Farber, Boston Consulting Group.

Lean had its genesis in post-WWII Japan- facing a world with no capital and few raw materials, innovation at Toyota became a necessity- a process known as the Toyota Production System, or Lean.

Today, like Japan after the war, our organizations face a similar crisis: no capital, few orders, difficult to obtain raw materials, and difficult to find skilled people. Innovating throughout our organizations– NOT JUST IN OUR SHOP OPERATIONS, but  in sales, engineering, administration, in fact all areas- through the use of Lean tools can help us eliminate waste. Less waste means add more value for customers, improving the sustainability of our companies.

Click here for Rethinking Lean, Beyond The Shop Floor, a free .pdf from Wharton Business School and Boston Consulting Group.

In  1957  MIT economist Robert Solow showed capital and labor only accounted for about half of growth. The remaining half he attributed to innovation. For his work on the importance of innovation, Solow received a Nobel Prize in economics. For your work in innovating throughout your organization, you too may earn a grand prize, a more sharply focused, less wasteful, more sustainable enterprise

And that more competitive enterprise, is a prize worth having.

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2 Responses to Rethinking Lean-Not Just The Shop Floor

  1. Jeff Gleich says:

    Miles, thanks for the lead!

    One request though – would you please do a post someday that informs all Lean zealots that “Lean” is actually a US invention – first from Eli Whitney, Fred Taylor, the Galbreth’s, and Henry Ford/ Charles Sorenson .

    The tools were further advanced into modern Lean by the US government through TWI, “training within industry” programs. We’re the ones that taught Toyota and it kills me to hear everyone still talk about TPS as the GAIA of Lean.

    I’ll even give you a head start on the research – now let there be light!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Training_Within_Industry.
    http://www.strategosinc.com/just_in_time.htm
    http://www.strategosinc.com/willow_run.htm

  2. speakingofprecision says:

    Jeff, we’d love to publish your post on the subject. I agree that it is irksome to hear the guys who fired all our industrial engineers as a cost savings start fawning over the Toyota orthodoxy so drop us a line and we’ll get it posted. Our readers will appreciate your experience in the small shop, high mix low volume lean arena. As for Training Within Industry, my Grandfather was an IE and he told me many many success stories related to TWI during WWII. Thanks for the links!

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