Mark Graban's - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System

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 speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. 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 book is the anthology 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. He is currently writing his next book, tentatively titled Measures of Success.

  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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