Friday, February 7, 2014

If you were going to explain to an executive what lean is, what would you say?

Rother: Lean is the permanent struggle to flow value to one customer. 
This can further be explained as:
  • Permanent (you’re never done). 
  • Struggle: plan, do, check, act (PDCA); a challenge—an emphasis of Toyota. 
  • To flow (not provide). 
  • Value (changes over time). 
  • To one customer (at the end of your value stream is one customer). Toyota had a traditional saying: "We make millions of cars, but the customer buys only one." 
This could be a 21st century definition of lean.

Martin: A business management system consisting of principles, practices and tools and is primarily about developing people to achieve business results. It is hard to summarize, because of its multilayered effect and complexity, without oversimplifying it. I have told business leaders that they can have it all. They can have people completely charged up at the end of the day, and going home and being loving spouses and parents, while making profits. You can also have customers who are so incredibly loyal that it would be tough to lose them. Of course, it’s not an easy path to get there.

Bremer: To engage as many people as possible in the business of rapidly creating new value for customers. I would tell an executive that lean gives them a tool they can use to engage their average performers to develop their skills and capabilities to become better employees and, in many instances, better people, because they’re improving their critical thinking skills.

Markovitz: A holistic system designed to produce better quality with fewer inputs by using all of the talents of people in the organization. The last part is tied to respect for people, which ties into everything that we do.

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