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Record of Annual WSJ JIT/Lean Blunders

by Mark Graban on August 20, 2010 · 7 comments

The WSJ has a long track record of not understanding Lean, as I’ve written about many times on my blog. There’s a major flare up at least once a year:

2011:  http://www.leanblog.org/2011/05/fox-news-channel-understands-lean-better-than-the-wsj/

2010:   http://www.leanblog.org/2010/07/wsj-wrongly-blames-apple-inventory-problems-on-lean-manufacturing/

2009: http://www.leanblog.org/2009/05/this-years-wsj-jit-bashing-article/

2008: http://www.leanblog.org/2008/09/jit-as-cause-of-delayed-shipments/

2007: http://www.leanblog.org/2007/07/step-1-earthquake-step-2-jit-bashing/

2006: http://www.leanblog.org/2006/06/wsj-blows-it-on-lean/


Mark Graban 2011 Smaller Record of Annual WSJ JIT/Lean Blunders leanAbout LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as the new Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the VP of Innovation and Improvement Services for KaiNexus.


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{ 6 trackbacks }

GM Blames Layoffs on the Japan Earthquake and JIT; Should Instead Look in Mirror — Lean Blog
March 22, 2011 at 5:02 am
Fox News Channel Understands “Lean” Better than the WSJ — Lean Blog
May 2, 2011 at 5:02 am
Two Cases of Writers Misrepresenting Lean Manufacturing — Lean Blog
July 26, 2011 at 5:02 am
Lean in Hospitals: Which Tool or Which Need? — Lean Blog
October 6, 2011 at 5:01 am
Kaizen on the Boeing 737 Line — Lean Blog
February 10, 2012 at 5:01 am
“The Economist” Magazine Highlights a Lean Hospital in Sweden — Lean Blog
July 24, 2013 at 8:39 pm

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Mark Graban
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April 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm

The most recent 2011 WSJ bad piece on Lean/JIT:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703916004576271631993174792.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

This article is full is mis-perceptions about Lean that the business world (and the WSJ) are still trying to recover from. Back in the 1980′s, most thought that Lean was just about just-in-time materials, supply chain, inventory, and production scheduling practices – people missed the broader management system of Lean and Toyota. This broader management system is really a total business system (see lean.org or the book The Toyota Way for more modern definitions of “lean.”)

Another comment is correct that JIT was designed for local deliveries and supply chains within Japan, a small country where warehouse space was at a premium in factories. Toyota has more inventory in its supply chain when bringing parts from Japan to North America then they would for a supplier in their San Antonio plant and local business park. If companies are bringing parts across the ocean on a boat from China, you can’t do JIT. But you can still be a “lean thinking” company. It’s not all about zero inventory.

Lean and JIT has never meant to be a substitute for thinking.

If you have long supply chains, highly variable demand, or lots of risk in your supply chain, why would you assume JIT or Lean are possible? We are still recovering from an unfortunately titled book “Zero Inventories” from the 1980s. Executives apparently didn’t read that the title.

Lean is about continuous improvement and total business effectiveness. It never was all about low inventory.

These companies and this article miss the point. We can’t say “shame on Lean” but rather “shame on the companies that misapplied it” unless they companies learn and change their practices going forward. That’s a learning organization and that’s what Lean is really all about.

One other thought – people say JIT is liable to disruptions. What if Japanese companies had huge factories pull of parts sitting there? The parts might have been damaged in the earthquake and tsunami. No production system can protect you from huge catastrophes. Truly lean supply chains are more flexible and allow companies to respond faster after disasters (such as Toyota’s quick recover from previous supplier plant fires and earthquake damage in past years).

Here’a a consolidated record on how the WSJ usually gets it wrong on Lean/JIT; http://www.leanblog.org/2010/08/record-of-annual-wsj-jitlean-blunders/

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