Lean: The New Buzz Concept


    By Jamie Flinchbaugh < The Hitchhiker's Guide to Lean >

    I've read my share of articles on lean, and its no wonder people are confused about what's up and what's down. Here's the latest bit of confusion, from Australia:

    Lean: The New Buzz Concept

    I don't even know where to begin with how bad this is. I used to carry a magazine cover around with me that showed on the cover “5S Leads to Lean.” After all my harping on how tools do not lead to lean, I was distraught to see people advocating, so prominently, that “do this and you will be lean.” See the cover here, and the corresponding article here. Worse yet, I know the editor and he's a good guy who does his homework, but this missed the mark.

    Perhaps its time we expected more from our media on the topic. Why is this important? Because many people receive their education about what's going on and what works through their regular magazines. If they learn the “wrong” stuff, we are all fighting an uphill battle. What can we do? Write to editors and writers. Educate them. Share your reactions. Open the dialogue. Complain, yes, but complain back to those doing the writing so that it gets better.

    Who's doing a good job writing about lean? Here are three magazines I believe do a respectable job and digging past the dirt to the real stories.

    Assembly Magazine
    Manufacturing Engineering Magazine
    Target Magazine

    Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

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    Jamie Flinchbaugh
    Jamie Flinchbaugh is an accomplished Entrepreneur, Senior Executive, and Board Member with more than 20 years of success spanning finance, manufacturing, automotive, and management consulting. Leveraging extensive operational experience, Jamie is an invaluable asset for a company seeking expert guidance with process improvements, lean strategies, and leadership coaching in order to transform operations, reduce costs, and drive profitability. His areas of expertise include continuous improvement, entrepreneurship, coaching and training, process transformation, business strategy, and organizational design.


    1. We need to get the Wall St. Journal, Business Week, and the like to understand lean (the Detroit News and Free Press for that matter).

      I struck up a friendship with a business reporter in Austin, still keep in touch. It started with me emailing him in response to a story. He comes to me sometimes with questions related to manufacturing and I try to help him do a better job reflecting manufacturing reality.

      Maybe we all need to “adopt a reporter”??

    2. If you want to change public perception and get the message out I would try to “adopt a celebrity” to champion the cause. Less credibility but more effective.


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