Thursday, March 09, 2006

Easy Lean

The lean journey is a long, continuous process of learning, experimentation and improvement. So when I received an email today about some lean webinars, I took a quick look over the topics. Normally, I do not have a lot of spare time for webinars, but I will make the time if I find something of lean value. The one topic that caught my attention was about "Easy Lean."

Now, I did not take a closer look at "Easy Lean" because I was looking for a shortcut (There are NO shortcuts on the lean journey). I took a closer look to see how someone could possibly sell something called "Easy Lean."

As it turned out, the company selling "Easy Lean" is a software company. They promote "Easy Lean" as some proprietary, lean transformation, turn-key system. But wait, there's more. Not only do you get lean in 45 days or less, they have an "electronic pull system" to get even leaner.

Most of you are smart enough not to buy into this branding of lean. However, there are some short-sighted executives that might fall for this slick shortcut to "Easy Lean." That would be a shame. For those with limited lean enlightenment, I will provide a few short rules to get past the branding of "Easy Lean."

Rule #1 Lean is not easy.
It take persistence and hard work to follow the lean journey. The path is never ending with constant improvement. There are no shortcuts. Even Toyota with 50 years of lean experience is still working on it.

Rule #2 There are NO software solutions in lean.
Lean is about finding and eliminating waste in the process using teamwork, focus and creativity. There are no software packages anywhere that magically make your company lean.

Rule #3 Always Simplify first, Automate last (and automate only if needed).
Never seek to automate your complex processes or system. These attempts will result in failure. Any software packaged to automate a complex system will be custom made, expensive and complex on its own rights. Just work on making it simple.

Rule #4 If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
This rule is as simple as it gets and needs no explanation.

Despite these few basic rules to dispel the path of "Easy Lean." Some management will believe that they have found the right path. I guess these would be the same people that buy into the "Easy Diet" and "Easy Money" programs, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course you would not see and easy way for manufacturers to become more lean... You are a Lean consultant, your very livelihood depends on making the process seem as difficult as possible. The premise of Easy Lean is that the software is merely a tool, too bad you didn't take more time to learn about the process. Easy Lean is merely the first step in the right direction. Very real results are possible in very short amounts of time. Either that or my customers lie to me, you decide. I would neevr suggest that Easy Lean represents the end game. Nor would I claim it is necessary to work for years before seeing results.