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Leading Lean: Missed Opportunity


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Here is the latest lean column from Jamie Flinchbaugh. You can read my Q&A with Jamie here, and he is also the author of the book “The Hitchhiker's Guide To Lean.”

Jamie makes the argument that the main benefits from pull come not from reductions in cycle time or inventory. Rather, the biggest gains from pull come from identifying problems to be solved as you operate the system over time.

This seems easier said than done in most company or factory cultures. Most people want to have zero problems or at least have the appearance of zero problems. It takes quite a bit of strong leadership to cultivate a culture where having problems is OK because you have a strong problem-solving process in place.

I'm sure there are far fewer factories with good problem solving processes in place than there are factories with kanban/pull systems. They might have the mechanics of pull down, but not the culture.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional 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 a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is currently writing his next book, tentatively titled Measures of Success.

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