The Shape Of Manufacturing To Come


IndustryWeek : Editor's Page :

From Industry Week's editor:

“Lean management is not an option. Lean not only will help companies survive the immediate threat of brutal price competition, in its most advanced implementation, lean also will push companies to focus relentlessly on the key to their success: their customers. While a few holdouts rightfully claim that lean processes alone won't ensure success, they should remember the corollary that is just as true: You're unlikely to succeed in the U.S. without lean processes.”

To elaborate a bit, it seems that the only way to be successful in the U.S. is to use lean to get costs down (competing vs. overseas labor) and to be more responsive to customers (shorter lead times than China). And let's not forget quality…. lean is the most consistent way to delivery safety, quality, delivery performance, and cost, all of those.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. A simple TPS formula (and highly different than the western business model):
    Price – Cost = Profit

    Lean manufacturing places focus squarely on the customer, the team member, the company and the shareholder (in that order). Since the customer ultimately sets your market price, the only way to ensure profits is to decrease cost. Muri (overburden), Mura (flow fluctuation) and Muda (waste – COMMWIP) all contribute to the cost associated with production. The answer to curbing costs then seems to go directly to eliminating, not just reducing, those things that are not value added processes and that use up resources unnecessarily.

    “Use exactly what is needed, in the exact amount needed, exactly when it is needed.” T. Ohno


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