Lean Mangement and Lean Orgs LO12924

Winfried Dressler (winfried.dressler@voith.de)
Tue, 18 Mar 1997 15:45:51 +0100

Replying to LO12916 --

Miriam Grace asked "Can 'Lean Manufacturing'
be implemented in the absence of 'Lean Management?' "

Yes. Lean Management has not too much to do with Lean Manufacturing.
"Lean" means "after elimination of all kinds of waste", so it concentrates
on value adding.

In case of Manufactuing this can be done relatively easily, for the
processes are quite linear. Excellent work has been published in the past,
for example under the label "Toyota production system". Nevertheless, deep
understanding of the whole production process as a system is vital. If
cost reduction is the main goal, it will not work: No JIT without Kanban,
no empowerment of employers to stop production line without full
commitment to quality improvement/Kaizen/CIP...

Lean Management is much harder. Due to the complex relationship between
company, its departments, customers, shareholder... it is hardly possible
to decide whether something is waste or added value. Nearly everything has
parts of both. The name of the idea to solve this is "Reengineering": the
whole business process is to be designed under the focus of adding value.

Thats the theory. In practice, managers are under pressure to save costs,
one has heard about great results with "Lean Production" - why not use the
same concept to reduce overhead cost? But cutting overhead does not lead
to Lean Management. And even if the underlying system is understood
correctly, reengineering comes to its border as soon as people are
affected by the necessary changes. Thats where Change Management came into
focus. And what is necessary to manage change? A learning organisation.
Here we are!

Winfried Dressler


Winfried Dressler <winfried.dressler@voith.de>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>