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 is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published 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.

  1. robert says

    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. Ron Pereira says

    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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