When Your Only Tool is a Hammer…

IndustryWeek : Beyond Lean: The Perfect Lean Market

Subscribe to IndustryWeek

… everything looks like a nail. Right?

I’m an Industry Week subscriber and the magazine is generally worthwhile. I’ve linked to some of their articles and commentary on lean that I’ve enjoyed and learned from.

This article I’ve linked to above, though, is almost comical. It’s not worth the paper (or server space) that it uses up. I hate to generalize, but software company CEO’s aren’t exactly the first people I would run to for advice about lean. Industry Week can certainly find better commentators than this.

What do I take issue with, from the CEO of QAD Software?

First off, the title. “Beyond Lean: The Perfect Lean Market.” “Beyond Lean” is a favorite marketing term in the enterprise software world and it sounds silly every time I hear it. We’re done with lean and time to move beyond it? Oh really? What’s the hot new thing? I bet it’s a software product that you are selling.

Secondly, the author says that while 80% of companies are working on lean, “less than one percent has lean practices in place.” Again, oh really? If only 1% are doing lean effectively, why are we ready to move “beyond?” It doesn’t make any sense.

So what’s holding companies back from doing lean? Ah, right — it’s obviously a lack of enterprise and supply chain software. You wouldn’t expect a software CEO to say that, now would you?

“The blind spot is supply chain communications.”, the author writes.

It’s not worth nit picking everything, but the funniest comment about lean was this, while talking about the idea of agility:

Certainly, lean qualities are important to agility – witness companies such as Sanyo and GM shedding non-core businesses in order to focus and presumably, to eliminate distractions that slow down decision-making and action.”

She is using GM as an example of lean? The fact that GM sold off GMAC is an example of how they are being lean? I’m sure GM would be selling tons of cars if only they hadn’t been distracted by that darn profitable mortgage business!

That, and I’m sure GM needs better enterprise software. We’ve found someone who can fix them, but only if you use her company’s software. Good luck with that.

It harkens back to the earlier “siren song” posts, started by our friend Mark Edmondson. What is a “siren song?”

From Wikipedia:

The term “siren song” refers to an appeal that is hard to resist but that, if heeded, will lead to a bad result.

Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

, , , on the author’s copyright.


Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please scroll down to post a comment. Click here to receive posts via email.


Now Available – The updated, expanded, and revised 3rd Edition of Mark Graban’s Shingo Research Award-Winning Book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. You can buy the book today, including signed copies from the author.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Please consider leaving a comment or sharing this post via social media.

Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

Posted in: Blog
Tags: ,

Post a Comment

CommentLuv badge