Where It's Been
For years before starting the blog, I was the “emailing articles out to people guy.” I would often find an interesting article on lean manufacturing or supply chain concepts and would email them out to friends and colleagues in the field. After discovering blogs, I realized that publish that material and let people “pull” that info by visiting my blog. That way, I wasn't “pushing” material into friends' already-crowded email boxes.
I started the blog in January 2005 and published just a few article links. I quickly realized that the blog was a good way to store my own personal archive of lean articles and links, an archive that I could access from any browser. I also realized that I could do more than post links to articles, that I could provide commentary and share my opinions that others might learn from. Or, I hoped it would stimulate debate and discussion through the “comments” feature of the blog.
What started as a “lean manufacturing” blog moved into other related areas, “lean healthcare” (which I've moved into careeer-wise), “lean solutions” and consumer related issues, things that weren't strictly factory related. Hence, the name change to the more-inclusive “Lean Blog.”
I am also proud of the direction that this is becoming less of a “Mark Blog” and more of a group blog, with my collaborators Luke and Mark E. I'm hoping to add a few other trusted lean practitioners as contributors this year, as well.
What I've Learned
Much as you get from teaching or conducting training classes, I have found that writing is another way to force you to think through concepts and to understand them better in the process. I have learned a great deal about lean this year, from the articles I've read, the other lean blogs that have popped up, and from comments or emails that I have received from blog readers. I don't take the “know it all” position with my blog. Rather, I realize I know some things from my ten years of experience in this field. But, I want to “learn it all” and the blog contributes toward that, at least for me.
Through the blog, I have made contacts and deepened relationships with a lot of fantastic people in the lean world. This ranges from some of the world-renowned experts, but I also greatly appreciate some of the connections I've made with grass-roots lean people from Germany to Brazil and in between. This proves that the web and blogs are technology that can help bring people together and can build “real world” professional relationships.
Where It's Going
I plan on continuing the blog as long as I can, particularly since it doesn't take up much of my time and I enjoy doing it. As with other bloggers, my participation fluctuates a bit in inverse with the workload in my real job.
I am very happy that the “lean blog” world has so many contributors now. I don't think this was the case a year ago. I wasn't the first lean blog, but I have been around to see many others pop up and take off this year (see a list of them in the left-hand column). There is so much more good lean writing happening now, ranging from practical shop-floor level “how to's” to the “cranky” among us who rail about fixing the whole of the American (or Global) manufacturing industry. I hope this community of lean bloggers grows and that the bloggers cooperate and help each other, rather than viewing each other as competitors. We all have a perspective to offer and we are building a new lean community.
As always, if you have comments/suggestions/feedback, use the “comments” field, or look for my email link in the left-hand column.
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