Here is a nice little local story about a small (26 employees) company that started with lean (sounds like they did some training and a 5-day kaizen event to improve their production line).
It’s always interesting to see how lean is portrayed in articles like this. The picture is skewed by the particular consultant, the company, and particularly the reporter who write the piece.
This article defined lean as “The idea behind lean manufacturing is to measure efficiency and reduce waste of time on the production lines of large manufacturers.” The reporter was a bit off in saying that Toyota started lean in “the 1970’s”.
I hope the company involved, and the owners, realize that lean is an ongoing mind set and approach, not a one time event. I’m sure the reporter won’t do a follow up to see if they could sustain their lean efforts, but it would be interesting to see.
The article also focused on employee involvement and employee input, saying “Oddly enough, when the training begins, company owners are asked not to participate.” I can understand how the consultant/trainer might have wanted to create an environment where people felt free to make suggestions and improvements without fear of looking bad or being “wrong.” But, I hope the co-owners of the company realize that they DO have a very critical role to play in lean, if it’s a long-term process (see Failure Reason #1 from this book).
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