It is fascinating to see how broadly people are studying lean. Here is an example given by innovation and management guru Gary Hamel. He was giving an interview on management innovation and here is what he said about TPS:
Could you give an example of management innovation in the workplace?
Toyota’s lean manufacturing. At one level, you can say that lean manufacturing is predominately an operational innovation. But what sits a level or two above the operational changes is the radical management idea that there could be a positive return on investment through using the problem-solving skills of your employees.
A few decades ago, if there was an efficiency or quality problem in the business, companies sent in staff experts. They studied the system, and then rewrote the standard operating procedures. And the employees were asked to conform to those procedures.
The idea that a company would actually give its employees the responsibility for making those changes, that was just unthinkable. So, what looks like a purely operational innovation through one lens, actually turns out to stem from a radical new management principle.
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