New “Practicing Lean” Chapter: Andy Sheppard from McKinsey and the UK


Practicing Lean book by Mark GrabanAs I'm documenting in the comments here, the collaborative eBook Practicing Lean has now generated about $700 of donations to the Louise Batz Patient Safety Foundation.

Today, I'd like to share an excerpt from a chapter written by Andy Sheppard from the UK.

His bio: Andy Sheppard helps businesses to transform their manufacturing operations, and serves as a technical advisor to Lean specialists. He is the author of The Incredible Transformation of Gregory Todd: a Novel about Leadership and Managing Change.

Here is part of his chapter:

Learning from Others

I wholeheartedly endorse the great hope for this book: that in reading it we can advance through the learning of others.

The most significant learning I have to offer has its roots in a singular experience that set the course of my career. It concerns the approach to Lean transformation, although it also deepened and sharpened my understanding of Lean itself.

At the time, I thought I already knew quite a bit about practising Lean. I also thought I understood the challenge of change management, and why it was so difficult to implement sustainable change. I had heard corporate reports of Lean transformations, but, as a British engineer, I tended to regard them with a healthy dose of scepticism (as I still do!).

With hindsight, I had little idea how to kick start an organisation's Lean journey. I also had no idea that so much sustainable improvement could be delivered so quickly – until I saw it happen…

I have now been working out further transformations in diverse industries around the world, while reflecting and building on this learning experience. I would say that the power of the approach lies in blending effective content for three ingredients: technical insight, practical change-management and good leadership.

Firstly, I have been using the term *flow* to refer to the *just-in-time* pillar in the TPS house. I normally try to avoid the term “just-in-time” because I have seen it misapplied so often. For example, I have heard people claim to have implemented just-in-time despite *increasing* waste in the supply chain by pushing the need for inventory upstream (albeit neatly organised in visual lanes or even in a supermarket.)

Thanks to Andy and the other authors. To buy the book (all proceeds to to the Louise Batz Patient Safety Foundation), visit

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