Danaher Business System – Implementing „real lean thinking“

Are you aware of Danaher?

Maybe you heard about Beckman Coulter, Matco, Sybron, Hengstler, Aaliant, Accu-Sort, Alltec, Armstrong Tools, Dexis, Dover, Fluke, Gilbarco, Hach Lange, Hydrolab, Instrumentarium Dental, KaVo Dental, Investech, Leica Microsystems, Leica Bio Systems, Portescap, Radiometer, Thomson, Veeder-Root or Videojet Technologies?
I haven’t heard about them neither before I became the CEO and Country Manager of Videojet Technologies in Switzerland.

Danaher is a hidden champion in many fields. Danaher’s brands are market leaders in their niche and Danaher is a hidden darling for investors. But the biggest secret of Danaher is hidden deeply inside this global organization: THE DANAHER BUSINESS SYSTEM (DBS).

Danaher invests millions of US$ per year to train all employees and managers on the philosophies and the tools of the Danaher Business System. Besides having kaizen events on my locations, I travelled at least 5 weeks per year all over the world to „Lean Conversion Boot Camps“ (also called „president kaizens“) converting complete factories towards DBS. We integrated newly acquired companies (post-merger-integration) as fast  as no other company. There is always a kaizen at one place in the „Danaher World“, where you can sign up to join and contribute. Then it’s up to you how to manage your daily business of your country from far away during a 90 hour kaizen week. That’s the best training you can get!!! My Executive MBA in Boston, Florida and Wuerzburg taught me a lot, but no comparison to my three years with Danaher.

Headhunters and Students watch out!

Most business students are dreaming of a career with McKinsey, BCG, Roland Berger, etc., but the real springboard into real business is any Danaher daughter company. Doesn’t matter what you want to learn: M&A, Financial Management, Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Production, Supply Chain, Procurement or HR, Danaher really achieved to get all under the roof of the DBS and built a „real lean system“. Lean is besides tools, methods and principles a lot about philosophy, as described in many of this highly recommended books and audio books.

During my time with Danaher, I’ve got approached by McKinsey (Spain) and decided later to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers (Germany), before I started my own successful business as Lean Interim Manager.

The hidden champion hides the secrets of the Danaher Business System quite well. Even in the web, you’ll need to be lucky to find valuable information about DBS.  Here are a few links for a first impression:

TheManufacturer.com: „Why lean companies stay fat: lean manufacturing for high performance“, Accenture Inc.

Pacific Scientific about the Core Values of Danaher and DBS (original link broken, re-routed to way back machine)

Kaizen is our way of life, article from an insider, Thomas Joyce

The Best $17 Billion Company You Don’t Know

It’s a pity that most articles are focusing on the classic lean approach in the manufacturing area. DBS strength lies in the combination with Policy Deployment (Hoshin Kanri) and SG&A Improvement (business support functions) based on Transactional Process Improvement (TPI).

It would be great to build up a network of DBS-Alumni. I am always in the urgent need to scale my solution business with good staff.

Get in touch!

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  1. Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] Books of my colleagues George Koenigsacker and Chris Cooper | LEAN-INTERIM®

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