Lean Suits Story on NPR
I’ll comment more on this later, but this was on NPR this morning. Overall, positive mentions of lean, although there was a common complaint from a worker about having to do more of a variety of work tasks instead of sitting and doing nothing but large batches of sleeves all day. Some people love the variety and the flow that comes with lean, some people hate it.
Some workers like the new system. Others don’t. Among the latter group is Louise Sanchez, who has worked for the Abboud factory for the past 17 years doing the exact same thing: stitching sleeves.
Sanchez preferred working alone at her own speed. Now, she’s part of a team. And if she doesn’t move fast enough, other workers give her a hard time, because it affects everyone’s pay.
“It was just me doing a bundle. And I used to finish the bundle, tie it up and just put it aside,” she says. “But now, I do a sleeve and I have to pass it on to the other operator. It’s just, it’s just a little nerve-wracking.”
Lean is right for the customer though, and the piece features that.
“Today, if a Nordstrom wants more Joseph Abboud product in the middle of September â€” because the weather turned cold and folks ran into the store and started buying suits and stripes were popular â€” we can’t deliver mid-season goods,” he says. “Whereas in a lean environment, if we can make a sufficient quantity in a two or three-day cycle and ship it to the store, we can actually fill replacement orders and drive a business.”
I’m glad it wasn’t a Lean-bashing piece.