Yay! Lean is Popular


IndustryWeek : Ranking Continuous Improvement Methods

According to a recent survey of 745 companies, 40.5% of them say they are using Lean as a continuous improvement strategy. The number is higher if you include “Lean Six Sigma,” “Agile manufacturing,” and “Toyota Production System” in the responses.

Is it safe to say that companies that try to adopt Lean because it's popular are more likely to do it in a superficial way or to give up on it sooner?

I don't think it's fair to judge the validity of a strategy based on how popular it is. Theory of Constraints is a completely valid and useful theory, but the fact that only 3% of companies say they use it…. what does that mean, other than there's less of a market for T.O.C. books and consulting?

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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.


  1. I posted an article on one of my blogs (http://tinyurl.com/38gp8o) comparing the overall popularity of six-sigma -v- lean -v- TOC. By far, six-sigma was most popular, then lean and then TOC. I think six-sigma tends to be over-hyped by consultants, especially via online channels.


  2. Ahhh the power of statistics! They can be bent any way you want them. I recently saw a similar survey where it showed Six Sigma on top. In the end… it’s all about using tools to make your company better. If it is Lean Six Sigma coupled with some drums, buffers, and Eliyahu ropes great! As Mr. Womack says, “Just do it!”

    Interesting survey nonetheless. Thanks for sharing Mark.


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