New “Practicing Lean” Chapter: Andy Sheppard from McKinsey and the UK

Practicing Lean book by Mark GrabanAs I’m documenting in the comments here, the collaborative eBook Practicing Lean has now generated about $700 of donations to the Louise Batz Patient Safety Foundation.

Today, I’d like to share an excerpt from a chapter written by Andy Sheppard from the UK.

His bio: Andy Sheppard helps businesses to transform their manufacturing operations, and serves as a technical advisor to Lean specialists. He is the author of The Incredible Transformation of Gregory Todd: a Novel about Leadership and Managing Change.

Here is part of his chapter:

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Learning from Others

I wholeheartedly endorse the great hope for this book: that in reading it we can advance through the learning of others.

The most significant learning I have to offer has its roots in a singular experience that set the course of my career. It concerns the approach to Lean transformation, although it also deepened and sharpened my understanding of Lean itself.

At the time, I thought I already knew quite a bit about practising Lean. I also thought I understood the challenge of change management, and why it was so difficult to implement sustainable change. I had heard corporate reports of Lean transformations, but, as a British engineer, I tended to regard them with a healthy dose of scepticism (as I still do!).

With hindsight, I had little idea how to kick start an organisation’s Lean journey. I also had no idea that so much sustainable improvement could be delivered so quickly – until I saw it happen…

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I have now been working out further transformations in diverse industries around the world, while reflecting and building on this learning experience. I would say that the power of the approach lies in blending effective content for three ingredients: technical insight, practical change-management and good leadership.

Firstly, I have been using the term *flow* to refer to the *just-in-time* pillar in the TPS house. I normally try to avoid the term “just-in-time” because I have seen it misapplied so often. For example, I have heard people claim to have implemented just-in-time despite *increasing* waste in the supply chain by pushing the need for inventory upstream (albeit neatly organised in visual lanes or even in a supermarket.)

Thanks to Andy and the other authors. To buy the book (all proceeds to to the Louise Batz Patient Safety Foundation), visit

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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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