I'm about to sign off for the Memorial Day weekend, visiting Washington DC, which seems like a moving time to visit. Best wishes to all, particularly any military veterans reading the blog. Thanks for your service.
I presented at a lean workshop for medical professionals this week and was asked a question afterward:
“The arguments for lean and flow seem so obvious, it really makes sense. So how did the manufacturing world end up with batch?”
I had my answers for that, the long story short is that we could point to a number of factors, including:
- cost accounting encourages “spreading” fixed costs across large production runs
- the U.S. being the only real manufacturing power after WWII, we were successful in spite of batch thinking and mass production, so it was hard to get past
- Sub-optimization encourages departments to crank out parts to keep costs down, accounting systems don't penalize us enough for inventory (calling it an “asset”)
- human nature seems to think batching is “efficient”, doing the same thing over and over is more efficient
How would you have answered her? Would you add points or amplify any of the points above? (This is the audience participation section, feel free to click on “Comments” to chime in).
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