Lean As A Business System
Here's a good column from IW, comparing the enterprise lean approach of Newport News ship building with the “plant floor only” approach taken by GM and Ford.
Until Detroit's Big Two implement lean as part of their companywide cultures, they'll never realize lean manufacturing's full benefits, if any. And once implemented, lean must flow smoothly from the decision-makers at the top down to the engineers and the shop floor. That means ensuring every division throughout the company is practicing lean together.
Getting to this point will require some humility on the part of U.S. automakers.
Toyota has been preaching/teaching for a while that lean/TPS is not just for the factory floor. This message was amplified by Jim Womack in his latest newsletter, that GM and Ford are pretty competitive when it comes to factory quality and productivity, but they have to embrace the full TPS business philosophy to move forward.