Lean 2.0: Faster, Better, Permanent | Jim Hudson | Lean Expert Academy

From leanexpertacademy.com Today, 10:16 AM

“The Lean that we all grew up with came to us completely wrong. Messengers Jones and Womack not only mislabeled it, but misinterpreted it too. In their roles as observer-reporters, they described what they saw through the old management paradigm and pretty much interpreted and documented everything from that perspective. They did that really well and Lean Thinking became the “go-to manual” as a result. But it wasn’t the right thing, so they pretty much missed the engine of Toyota’s management system. The result? 30+ years of misfires from nearly all corners of the earth, as leaders and consultants took what Jones and Womack observed and tried to implement it.”

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

I agree with your assessment, but I am not so sure about the remedy. About Womack and Jones, I would say that they authored one good book: “The Machine That Changed The World,” and leave it at that. To them, manufacturing was a spectator sport, and they shared the results of a worldwide benchmarking study of the auto industry.

I met Jim Womack at Honda in 1999, where I was helping a team of engineers on the design of a new motorcycle engine assembly line. We then had lunch together with our common host, Kevin Hop, and Womack was forthright about his limitations. It’s other people’s response to his writings and speeches that changed him from a reporter to a thought leader, and ushered in what you describe.

20 years ago, I started using the “Lean” label as a company- and industry-neutral alternative to “TPS,” allowing other car manufacturers to embrace it without referencing a competitor, and companies in other industries not to appear to borrow from car making. Today, it has come to mean a set of simplistic, half-baked ideas with a record of implementation failure.

You are suggesting doubling-down and going for “Lean 2.0.” In principle, anything 2.0 comes after the success of the first version. There are exceptions, particularly in manufacturing, where a string of versions from MRP to ERP have been sold to successive generations of managers without any having been successful. What about using a new label?

 

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18 comments on “Lean 2.0: Faster, Better, Permanent | Jim Hudson | Lean Expert Academy

  1. When I’ve worked with Jim Womack, I’ve found him to be pretty humble. He’s a political science PhD… I think he still seems surprised that people consider him a “manufacturing expert.”

    Those who talk about “Lean 2.0” or “what’s beyond Lean” usually have something specific and proprietary to sell. Jim Hudson has been very aggressive this year peddling online training programs and his self proclaimed expertise.

    It’s off-putting when people like him disparage others and then claim to have the answers. It’s not humble and it’s not Lean.

    • We also shouldn’t forget the other co-author, Dan Jones. I have never met him in person, but I have had pleasant exchanges of emails with him over the years.

      In social media, you see more and more defensive posts from consultants arguing that “true Lean,” “Lean Deep,” or “Lean 2.0” is good but rare, while “fake Lean,” “LAME,” or “Lean Lite” is common but bad. It’s a far cry from when Lean was new and exciting, and we were enthusiastic about how it was going to make the factory a better place.

      I think it’s time to retire the label. I don’t want to talk about “Lean Assembly” anymore but just “Assembly.” The concepts in Lean Assembly are proven and, until something better comes along, it is the standard of how to design and operate assembly lines, and it should be taught as such to students of manufacturing and industrial engineering, just the way other waves of innovation have become mainstream.

      • Dan is a low-key, humble guy too. I wish they had chosen a name other than “Lean” back in the day (John Shook said as much on stage at a conference last week).

        What I care about is Better.

        Maybe I should have called my book “Better Hospitals” or “Better Health” because that’s the goal. Lean is a means to an ends… better hospitals, and most hospitals have A LOT of opportunity to be better.

        As for a new name… how does the “Lean Community” coalesce around a new name unless somebody else writes a book just as popular as “Machine”?

      • Mark Graban: I titled my first book in 2003 “Better Thinking, Better Results.” I was ahead of the times!

        As I said many times before, the name does not matter. You could call Lean “Free Money” and people would still avoid it because it demands too much from them.

        Remember what former Toyota chairman Cho-san said: “Our way of thinking is very difficult to copy or even to understand.” That’s the problem. It’s not the name.

      • Michel – Please remember that my coining of the term “Fake Lean” in 1999 was to describe a specific condition: The practice of Lean absent the “Respect for People” principle, thereby making the factory (workplace) a worse place. The various terms, “True Lean,” “Lean Deep,” etc. that you cite are not all the same as “Fake Lean.”

        See http://www.bobemiliani.com/back-story-real-vs-fake-lean/

        P.S. I am not and have never been a consultant.

      • @Bob Emiliani — Perhaps it is because you have never been a consultant that you think the name doesn’t matter. If you make a living from selling your services to clients, what you call them makes a world of difference. A saying I once heard to describe a commercial rivalry was: “Oracle is selling raw fish and calling it sushi, while Ingres is selling sushi and calling it raw fish.”

        This being said, I believe that the time has come for TPS and approaches derived from it, or inspired by it, to be fully incorporated into the mainstream manufacturing body of knowledge, without a special name. It’s like the set of methods used to make interchangeable parts. It used to be known as “the American system of manufacture.” Now, it’s just the way manufacturing is done by the pros.

      • Bob — The history of the consulting business suggests that names matter. A package of statistical design of experiments techniques got traction from being called “Six Sigma,” and “Black Belt” was a more attractive title than “Staff Statistician.” In Academia, are you telling me that, when you apply for a grant, the name you give your proposal doesn’t matter?

      • People recognize conventional management as something akin to arithmetic, and so that they can do. They recognize progressive (Lean) management as something akin to trigonometry or calculus, which they struggle to understand and therefore don’t use or use incorrectly. Will changing the name help? No.

      • @Bob, I’d propose that Lean isn’t complicated like calculus… it’s just different. Is a better parallel “new math” or a different way of multiplying numbers that seems “weird” if you were taught the old way first… but perfectly natural if you’re taught the new way?

        I was pretty lucky, in a way, that I was taught the “new way” pretty early in my career before the old way took root in my brain as the “right way.” The old way was failing miserably at GM so it reinforced that we needed a new way and I was ready and thankful to be able to learn it from NUMMI people and others.

      • Mark – Cognitively, Lean is complicated like calculus.

        As Cho-san said: “Our way of thinking is very difficult to copy or even to understand.”

      • By assuming you were applying for grants, I seem to have offended you. Sorry. I thought this was how academics funded their research. How do you fund yours?

      • No offense taken. I fund my research funding via creative means so that I can pursue my interests, in connection to the “real world,” as opposed to the interests of the funding agencies.

    • Mark, I don’t understand your intent or the tone of your comment. It’s not judgmental, but humility isn’t the first thing that comes to mind either.

      In no way did I “disparage” either author of Lean Thinking – in fact I’ve repeatedly suggested the world owes them great honor for introducing the topic. My article only states that we would have been better served, had the book focused on the thinking behind systems management along with some real “modeled mechanics,” rather than the visible behaviors.

      I happen to know Steve Spear, who also worked at MIT at the time, suggested as much prior to the publication of the book; and given they were granted several millions of dollars by the government to help the US grasp what “Japan was doing,” I consider it a big mistake to have ignored Steve.

      Neither author is intellectually lazy, so it’s an apt topic that deserves to be discussed. Jim Womack is surprised that people consider him to be a manufacturing expert because he is not one. He wouldn’t even begin to argue the point – he tried his hand at it via a bicycle company and gave up quickly. At the same time, I take responsibility for my communication, so based on very limited feedback, I might have worded the article better.

      But it all begins with a “read the article” – as a seasoned practitioner in “sleeves rolled up” Lean implementations over two decades on nearly every continent, I am confident that nothing I’ve said was really that harsh. What is harsh is that we seem to be stuck in the exact same loop again as HR has departmentalized the “Lean CI Opex” function and expects ill-equipped “Lean VPs and Directors” to be organizational change agents. These individuals certainly know what Lean is, but they don’t really know how to get that shift to happen, let alone gracefully. Most certainly no where nearly as elegantly as Michel does.

      On top of that, the majority of Lean books only tell people “WHAT to do.” My materials explicitly explain “HOW to do it” in a step-by-step format. And yes, I’m aggressively making that available to everyone so as to keep us from repeating the last 30 years of failed implementations once again.

      I think that’s the goal for all of us as Lean leaders, but it’s hard to discern that out the collective conversation sometimes. Especially when it’s not based on the essence of Lean, which is that WE LIVE IN A WORLD OF ABUNDANCE and Lean thinking is the way to manage that world. It is through Lean that we unleash the collective creativity that every organization contains – creativity that is infinite.

      I’d like to see you leading that effort Mark. You have the ability and the influence to do so via your excellent speaking platform and your extensive blogging. Do more of that. It works.

      • Steve Spear was a doctoral student at Harvard Business School while “Lean Thinking” was being written. So, I don’t think it’s accurate to say Spear “also worked at MIT at the time.”

  2. Unfortunately when Lean thinking was extracted from the Toyota Production system it lost some of the original simplicity and two key features. —
    The main performance goals for TPS are to give the customer;
    What they want. (The best P, S, and E available in your industry. Products, services and experiences).
    In the quantity they want, without defects. (Any multiple of one. One piece flow facilitates this capability. Jidoka and Poka- yoke will ensure zero defects). –
    Delivered when they want it. (Just in time to suit their needs. Takt time is the driver). —
    These values must also be improving faster than those of any existing or future competitor. —
    There are three main activity goal areas in TPS to achieve this. They are called the 3 R’s. Only the first one is used as a central theme in Lean Thinking. —
    The first ‘R’ is Resources.
    The goal in this area is to achieve the three performance goals using the minimum ‘Resources’ (i.e. materials – machinery – methods – movement – minutes – manpower – money). Anything above the minimum resources required to produce the product, service and experience that will delight the customer is defined as waste, and is a target for removal. This is one the main areas of focus for TPS and lean activities – Waste elimination. What cannot be removed should then be seen as a target to be continuously improved. The first rule in this area is; remove it before you try to improve it—
    The second ‘R’ has been largely missed by the lean movement. This is Resourcefulness.
    The goal in this area is to release the ‘Resourcefulness’ (talent, creativity and enthusiasm) of all our people to achieve the first three goals. This ability must also drive the waste elimination and continuous improvement process throughout your organisation and down through your supply chain. A key rule in this area is; sustain the gains, maintain the change.
    The third ‘R’ is ‘Respect’. From my own experience we must see ‘RESPECT’ as the password that gives access to the file that contains our people’s total ability (talent, creativity and enthusiasm). Without the correct code, access will not be possible. This is one of the key bonding elements between managers and their people. This style can be called TLC, Tender Loving Care. Too many managers show TDC for their people, Thinly Disguised contempt. The key rule in this area is; Star managers make their people shine. —
    One of the most enlightening comments I have heard on the ‘Toyota Respect for people’ subject came from a manager at their Burnaston plant. He explained that; “The respect we have for our people means that we must FILL their days with valuable work”. . Respect should not be seen as a ‘soft-side’ subject. A lot is given and a lot is expected in return. —
    Anyone who understands TPS will tell you the second and third R’s are central to its success. They are missing from too many lean programmes and are the reason for many of their failures.
    When you apply this thinking not only to your external and internal customer contact areas, but also down your supply chain, you will start to understand where and how Toyota’s amazing performance and competitive advantage are created. —
    Two quotations to clarify and confirm our thinking. — “Of course what is important is not the system, but the creativity of human beings”. Taiichi Ohno. —
    When trying to understand lean and TPS, or anything else, we should always remember Pavlov’s words. “Don’t be a collector of facts. Try to penetrate to the secrets of their occurrence, persistently search for the laws that govern them”. –

  3. I’ve seen many consulting companies now offering “culture change”, under various branding terms. This idea that if we just change our underlying “assumptions, beliefs, and values” as the linked article states, things will get better.

    But there is no culture, so we can’t apply countermeasures to it. Imitating visible people whom we observe getting rewards is only one influencer on behavior change, and not the best one either.

    There are only individuals and their behavior. Behavior should be the focus of an intervention on people. We certainly would not pay to change people’s assumptions, if no change in behavior could be detected.

    Culture change has turned into a marketing effort, a propaganda campaign, which disrespects the people subjected to it. It is also invasive to try to change people’s values directly, If the leader sells the idea of going left, and all the systems and incentives favor going right, we should not be surprised what any rational human will do. Stay out of people’s heads.

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