What is LEAN – I have “some” idea –

When I started learning about organizational improvement through lean operations I thought it was clear, practice common sense and don’t think that it is common.  While working here and learning the processes I’ve been muddled by daily routine and not my vision of lean.  This week I re-read a book where I began my journey, “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt and realized that I’ve been going about my goal in the exact opposite way than what is illustrated in his novel.

I read the book and subsequent others and thought I had a basic knowledge of lean, how efficiencies are bad and the norms for accounting are not accurate.  The novel I reference talks about robots and how the plant manager thinks the robots gave them an increase in production.  No spoiler here but…..

I’ve been thinking about “robots” and now after reading the novel again understand that my approach is simply adding technology to a problem that is dragging the corporation under water.

Technology is NEVER the answer, simply a tool that can benefit or demise your efforts.

I’ve been working to develop an infrastructure that supports an information technology effort where work is automated when it is repetitive.  I have been thinking that the people here do the same thing day after day and the environment is growing, so automation is the key.  Sounds semi-logical but if I introduce automation I will definitely improve efficiencies and then what?  I will create bottle necks and do the exact opposite of lean production.

I believe now what I have to do is understand the steps, the value stream and where progress towards our “goal” is stifled.


Author: TheLeanArmy

I am a student of Lean, on the journey and most challenging opportunity to introduce and implement Lean principles and thinking in my portion of the United States Army. * Completely unofficial and all information is my sole opinion, not endorsed by the government and for personal use.

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