"Sum" or "Some"??

I saw this great phrase the other day, it’s eventually going to end up in a white paper I authored (with some ghostwriter/editor help) for work. This blog, for the record, is 100% ghostwriter free :-)

The phrase was:

Regarding lean, are you implementing “Some of the Parts” or “The Sum of the Parts”???

I guess the former (Some) might be “L.A.M.E.” while the latter (Sum) might be closer to Lean?

Elaborating a bit, using “some of the parts” with a Lean effort might include companies only:

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  • Using 5S only and calling that lean
  • Using 5S and kanban, but not including other lean methods
  • Using all of the lean methods, but not focusing on the management practices of lean
  • Having a robust kaizen and suggestion system, but not working on improving flow

Lean and the Toyota Production System are a “holistic business system.” It is more than just a collection of individual tools. That said, we have to start somewhere. Starting with 5S and employee involvement is fine as a starting point, but you need to have a roadmap and communicate that pathway to the organization.

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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 book 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.

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