Wake Up – LEAN Management 2010

Where do you apply LEAN principles? Production Site? Inventory? Shop Floor? Suppliers JIT? Come on and wake up! We don’t live in the industrial age anymore, the real waste (muda) is somewhere else and maybe you already know it.

Increasing productivity as applied to the automotive industry is something everybody tried to learn from and to take advantage off the key-learning, principles, processes and tools. What I’ve seen out there wasn’t really adapting the key-learning from the automotive industry to the target industry, it was mostly just a kind of copy.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great and there is always potential for increasing productivity and efficiency on the work-floor, shop-floor, inventory, supply chain, etc. but do you live in the industrial age or in the age of information and knowledge?

Fact is the production industry has increased their productivity by 3 percent each year for the last 120 years, which leads to a 50 times better productivity than at the beginning of the industrial age.

What will be the effect to total productivity and the total economy in the future if we continue putting our efforts in this area?

Marginal! Fractional! Why? Because, just a few people are still working there. In highly developed countries only 15 percent of all employees are working really in the production area! More than 80 percent of all employees are working in administration, sales, service, marketing, legal, finance, project management, general management, etc.

Employees and Managers outside the hands-on production bare a huge potential for productivity improvement

From my point of view, the biggest challenge of this century is to increase productivity of administration, office- and knowledge-worker and MANAGER! Yes, it hurts. Do you apply the Deming Cycle (plan, do, check, act) daily to increase your own productivity? Did you apply 5S to your working place?  How much time do you spend on muda like:

  • motion (Are you sure you need all this flights instead of video conference, or is it just good for your miles-account and intercultural activities(not to say ego)?)
  • unnecessary transportation (Are you loosing information, folders, documents or mix them up like it happen quite often in hospitals?)
  • inventory (what is your paper pile like? Tall, because you want to sign it and nobody else should),
  • waiting (e.g. at the airport or until a meeting really starts),
  • overproduction (do you always delegate a task to only one person? Don’t you overproduce in regards pre-sales and sales activities just to be prepared in case…),
  • etc.

The automotive industry helped us to understand the real LEAN Philosophy, Tools and Methods. Now, it’s time to wake up and move on to the real challenge of the 21st century: LEAN-ADMIN, real LEAN-MANAGEMENT, LEAN-SALES, etc. and LEAN-INTERIM.

Feel free to post your opinion about it!

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