How to make Lean work!

Of course, many of you have had great success with your Lean efforts but according to a survey with 10,000 people only 1.5% have been able to sustain their efforts after 10 years; Toyota has been doing it for over 70 years. 

First, what is the purpose of Lean? 

“In short, Lean methodology is a way of optimizing the people, resources, effort, and energy of your organization toward creating value for the customer. It is based on two guiding tenets, continuous improvement and respect for people.”

Taiichi Ohno, former VP Production at Toyota, would teach showing a river filled with rocks. He wanted the water to flow, (the process was like a river of water), and considered the rocks, (problems), as a blockage to be eliminated – he called the rocks, “waste.”

He listed 7 wastes:

1. Transportation, 

2. Motion, 

3. Waiting, 

4. Over processing, 

5. Overproduction, 

6. Defects

7. Inventory

I added an 8th waste:

8. Underutilization of people’s talents

In the future, I will cover each of the wastes with you. But, I want you to recognize that these wastes worked for Ohno and Toyota but might not necessarily work for you. Surely if you work for a hospital more important than those are: medical error killing close to 450,000 people in America each year, medical costs which are astronomical, breaking up the hierarchy where virtually every decision must be made by the doctor, the containment of the coronavirus, etc. 

Yes, those wastes were very good for Toyota, but you should examine first your own problems and then come up with those wastes that are more appropriate for you.  

And, I am not at all sure that Toyota is fully giving their employees respect when they still have a “tact” time of around 3-4 minutes with people doing the same “boring” job over and over again.

In this blog we are looking at Social Responsibility. We feel Lean is a very important part of that topic. 

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