Grasping Lean

A very handy new book was published last month called The Lean Anthology: A Practical Primer in Continual Improvement, authored by Rebecca Goldberg and Elliott N. Weiss, and it provides simple case studies of people observing and integrating the principles of Lean into their personal and professional lives.

I had a chance to discuss the book with Rebecca and asked her: "Which aspect of a Lean initiative is usually the toughest to grasp by those without an operations management background?" Here is her complete answer:

The successful understanding and teaching of Lean means getting people engaged, involved, and committed. This is the toughest aspect of those involved in a a Lean initiative to grasp and those leading the initiative to overcome. So often, students of Lean -- whether in a corporate or an academic setting -- get lost in the esoteric, “armchair Lean” side of the methodology. This misplaced focus prevents or delays success. The Lean Anthology: A Practical Primer in Continual Improvement uses practical examples that readers can intuitively understand and apply -- bridging the gap between Lean theory and true Lean integration. Colleagues and associates are engaged when they understand the benefits of change and are able to generalize Lean concepts in a holistic way. 

Here are some examples: Two people discuss their approaches to car care -- which helps to explain predictive, preventive, and reactive maintenance. A busy executive changes his daily routine to accomplish the same amount of work, yet preserves more time for family. A busy mother designs a "critical path" to shepherd her children to the school bus each day without any "defects." The stories in The Lean Anthology walk participants through a strategic path toward a Lean conversion, represented as the 5-Cs of Customer, Capability, Control, Coordination, and Context/Culture. The best investment an organization can make in successful change is to support true understanding and engagement -- our book makes that investment tangible and accessible. 

How do colleagues without an operations or engineering background in your organization function within a Lean initiative? Has it significantly hindered their involvement?


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Writers Per Hour said...

Could you please specify what first steps should people do by following the book "A Practical Primer in Continual Improvement" - bloggers already opened a discussion on that topic.