"Sum" or "Some"??


I saw this great phrase the other day, it's eventually going to end up in a white paper I authored (with some ghostwriter/editor help) for work. This blog, for the record, is 100% ghostwriter free :-)

The phrase was:

Regarding lean, are you implementing “Some of the Parts” or “The Sum of the Parts”???

I guess the former (Some) might be “L.A.M.E.” while the latter (Sum) might be closer to Lean?

Elaborating a bit, using “some of the parts” with a Lean effort might include companies only:

  • Using 5S only and calling that lean
  • Using 5S and kanban, but not including other lean methods
  • Using all of the lean methods, but not focusing on the management practices of lean
  • Having a robust kaizen and suggestion system, but not working on improving flow

Lean and the Toyota Production System are a “holistic business system.” It is more than just a collection of individual tools. That said, we have to start somewhere. Starting with 5S and employee involvement is fine as a starting point, but you need to have a roadmap and communicate that pathway to the organization.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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