With the advancement in manufacturing, Lean is still seen as a quick fix for cost reduction, increased workloads, and layoffs.  With the incorporation of the nonprofit, all-volunteer Michigan Lean Consortium (MLC), the mission for Michigan organizations under the tutelage of the MLC is to develop and support lean systems thinkers to transform Michigan’s organizations and economy.  The organization has worked with scores of companies and individuals through conferences, coaching, apprenticeships and seminars, all designed to instill real lean thinking into their DNA.

What makes a good company to start Lean is a valuable question.  There are several good analogies stated in the article like the following:

  • Lean is not the equivalent of a life preserver that you throw out to somebody who’s drowning. Dr. Deming
  • There’s no such thing as instant pudding. Dr. Deming
  • Lean is believed as long as they’re in trouble. Dr. Deming
  • Lean is like a farm. You have to plant, you have to weed, you nurture and tend, and then you reap at the end of the harvest season. Steven Covey

The MLC states they are looking for the following:

  • Constancy of purpose in an organization
  • Reorganizing, bankrupt, severely downsizing, or looking to be sold, well, they could benefit from lean thinking—anybody can. But it’s not a good learning environment
  • TPS order of Priorities: Safety, quality, delivery, and cost
  • Lean was never used as a job reduction scheme at Toyota, but rather a productivity-improving system.
  • Learn the Lean tools to be applied anywhere instead of copy-paste routine

One of the Lean training experiments called the “Red Bead Experiment” is like the Star Trek Kobayashi Maru training for Starfleet captains.  There is no way to win.  Thus, teaching that it is management’s role to provide the workers with a system to win.

This is a must read article for anyone in Lean.  Please follow my example and join the Michigan Lean Consortium at www.michiganlean.org today!!

Article Link: http://www.sme.org/MEMagazine/Article.aspx?id=83043&taxid=1415

Gary Kapanowski – Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt – Excelsior

The following blog is the opinion of Gary Kapanowski and Garykapanowski.com.  It is the sole intent to broadcast this opinion from Gary Kapanowski and Garykapanowski.com exclusively and not to reflect on any other institutions or organizations associated with Gary Kapanowski or Garykapanowski.com.

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