Real Lean vs. "Fake" Lean


Society of Manufacturing Engineers

Good discussion of lean culture change and a real overall lean management system, as opposed to “fake lean”, consisting of use of lean “tools” and a reliance on kaizen events. Real lean is about leadership and maximizing the potential of your people.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. Steve Hebert says

    I agree with your comments about the structure around lean, but I shudder at the thought of clarifying ‘fake’ vs. ‘real’ lean. This can often lead to useless academic arguments. What are your experiences with these types of line-in-the-sand arguments around lean – good or bad?

  2. Mark Graban says

    Well, in a way, I think “true lean” or “real lean” is whatever works for your business and company. What’s right for Toyota and what’s right for Dell Computer might be slightly different because of their unique business models.

    I think “real lean” is something that is sustainable. “Fake lean” often tricks us into thinking we’re on the path to being Toyota, but we’re really just headed back to where we started.

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