Interesting Topic Lean Manufacturing Concepts - Is 'Lean' hype?

Is 'Lean' hype?


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W

WesCharley

I thought I answered the question about how I handle potential clients that are not in need of my help. I would not sell my services to a client who did not need them. It goes back to that little thing called business ethics which would be an entirely different discussion. I just haven't run into that issue as of yet.

Has anyone read the article Learning To Lead At Toyota by Steven Spear?
It is a very interesting read. Toyota has been building and improving it's productions system since the late 1800's yet it still spends weeks, months and sometime years training it's new managers in their production system on the shop floor. How good of a job do you guys feel US companies that practice lean do at getting their managers that type of hands on training? Has anyone here had that extent of training or at least an effort to get them on the floor learning lean before they assumed their new role?
 

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
<snip> Has anyone read the article Learning To Lead At Toyota by Steven Spear?
It is a very interesting read. Toyota has been building and improving its productions system since the late 1800's yet it still spends weeks, months and sometime years training its new managers in their production system on the shop floor. How good of a job do you guys feel US companies that practice lean do at getting their managers that type of hands on training? Has anyone here had that extent of training or at least an effort to get them on the floor learning lean before they assumed their new role?
Learning to Lead at Toyota.

Stijloor.
 

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JkelleyCDS

I performed a Lean Activity when it came to part transportation waste recently at my new company. I reduced the distance a part traveled by over 23%. When it comes to 400 units a year, that 23% per unit can add up and save a lot of time which equals $$$. It was a spaghetti diagram or factory layout where we tracked the multiple stations parts would go for no reason. The part would sit, cycle time would increase, etc. By rearranging the work floor layout a continuous product flow was kept and these "muda" or wastes were reduced.

Hope this gives you an example of how lean principles can be put to good work.
 
P

palmer

Lean isn't hype, it is one of several ways to describe an ideal or to follow a set of objectives where you stay organized and efficient.:nopity: Do the right things, at the right times, the right way.
 

tongxiaozhi

Involved In Discussions
I don't see it as a rant - "expression of frustration" is the euphemism I hear lately.

I suspect that when failures of TQM, Zero Defects, and similar programs often labeled "flavor of the month" are examined, the root cause of failure will be attributed to management insincerity or to complete "cluelessness" on the part of managers that their role has to be real and ongoing.

The moment folks with real authority [bosses] in an organization think the program will run by itself without regular review by bosses is the moment the program begins to deteriorate. Successful programs require commitment and involvement by the bosses. Without commitment and involvement by bosses, it soon becomes apparent to employees the route to getting noticed and rewarded is NOT in the Quality program.

Thus, the problem lies not with the program, but in lack of knowledgeable implementation and involvement by the bosses.

Anyone out there concur or differ with this view?
I fully agree with you on this. We have been doing lean for more than a year but turns out to be a total failure. Management just accounted on lean manager to make the whole change. Doing lean is a very long and sometimes frustrating journey. Sometimes, we have to sacrifice short term gains for long term objective. Management involvement and deep commitment are vital to change the culture and maintain the gains. If management views it as "program of a moth" it will be viewed so by employees. In the end, new ways cannot be maintained and the organization gradually declines back to the old way. It is easier to learn and master the tools, like 5S, SMED, standard work than to change people's mind. It is all about culture change.
 

kgott

Quite Involved in Discussions
Hey guys and gals, I need some help here! The company I work for is in need of change. More than half of the work force has been here for greater than 10 years. Although that produces some very good things, it also creates some negatives. One of those is the introduction of new concepts. The last "lean consultant" I had in here to offer ideas on where we should start left looking like :confused: . Can anyone share with me the success stories witnessed at your locations? Also, anything you did to help sell the ideas to upper management, then to the rest of the staff.
Thanks,
Mike
Perhaps calling it lean is what did it. There was once a wonderful thing that went under the letters TQM, and in my view, it got killed off by something called Total Quality Management whatever the heck that meant ???????????
 
B

Bugoll

Lean and Six Sigma are methodologies which work together.
Six Sigma focuses on process variation (Variation reduction, Scrap/ Rework elimination, process optimization, SPC). Lean tools focus on process speed (Waste elimination, Work standardization).
Not all project improvements need both these methodologies but when we have a complex task for optimisation: Six Sigma considers process flow and capacity ? Lean gives additional tools (Value stream map, 5S, Spaghetti diagrams, Time value chart, etc.).
Thus 'Lean' isn't hype - is a set of old-established methods for process improvement.
 

Mikael

Quite Involved in Discussions
Or perhaps we should have asked what should the word have ment. The word make sense only as an opposition to a buffer approach when talking stocks, and yes that can include a full supply chain view. Still it should have been "just" a stock concept and the word would have had meaning and a legitimate word to use in the discussion of a stock approach, where lean would not always be the best choice.
Even for the founders it was not sexy enough so it was broaden out.
Today it means everything and nothing within everything that have any kind of cut cost touch on it.

Lean today is ****, bullshit and sometimes very bad for business.
The original book that people seems to refer to is just a bla. bla. story about manufacturing/sector making improvements, fair enough, but dont call it real science and dont call it a real theory, call it a sweet story.
There is nothing in Lean that have not already been said within theory from beyond the buffer/lean distinction. That is there is nothing fantastic or revolutionary about lean.

With an education in Supply Chain Management and before that philosophy, I can easily pull apart the assumptions within the original lean concept. Yes there can be some sweet thumb of rule things, but if you want to start take things more serious you must go beyond lean.


I see a similiar problem with "Disruption", nobody take their time to actually search on Christensen and disruption, to know that he is very clear on the fact that it is not just a new term for innovation or revolutionary breakthrough.
Besides a time issue, there is not much new in the concept of disruption that we did not already knew from the business theory history. Being aware of different market segments have always been basics within business. With disruption we have a name for a specific scenario there and that is fine, but today it kind of mean innovation, breakthrough or radically news, unfortunately.
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
I don't know Mikael. Your explanation of why you believe Lean to be ***** is not very descriptive of true Lean (Toyota Production System).

Certainly there are MANY hacks out there who pass off some pieces and parts of TPS/Lean as "Lean" but they do not represent what true Lean is. Lean isn't just Kanban or 5S or mapping or the visual workplace or Kaizen. It is like a tapestry; when you take one or two pieces out of the tapestry the pieces fail because they are no longer supported by the interwoven threads of the whole tapestry.

It takes deep understanding of TPS/Lean to really understand it and implement it properly. I would say that partial implementations are therefore doomed to fail. Not because of any inherent weaknesses in TPS/Lean, but because of the incomplete and incorrect method of implementation.

Perhaps you have an incomplete understanding of TPS/Lean? Could you expand on your thoughts?
 

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