Lean Management and Lean Orgs LO12937

John Zavacki (jzavacki@wolff.com)
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 04:11:07 -0500

Replying to LO12924 --

Winfried Dressler <winfried.dressler@voith.de> says:
> 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.

>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!

At the Agility Forum, we have also learned that "Lean" is not always
"agile". Managing Change, particularly the change created by the
"sneakerization" of markets is not always best suited to a lean
organization. To use the language of the bottom line, lean may be less
expensive to keep in place, but it is not always "cost effective" in that
it requires what I've begun to call "knowledge buffers" in the same way a
lean production system requires raw material buffers in critical process
paths. Cost is not always waste. A hard point to make to people who have
been inundated with the notion of the first wave reengineering movement
and its neutron bomb effect on an organization!!!

John Zavacki
The Wolff Group

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