Why I don’t like Lean houses, except one | Christian Hohmann | LinkedIn Pulse

Christian Hohmann

“I never liked the (Toyota inspired) Lean houses and their many variants. First all these models are generally understood as prescriptive rather than descriptive, thus those new to Lean tend to adopt and copy one model without necessarily understanding its real meaning. The building blocks of Lean houses are principles, methods and tools, reinforcing the feeling that it’s all about “techniques”.

The house building metaphor also suggests a beginning with sound foundations, robust pillars and when the roof is atop, the organization is done. We’ll see later it is not in this way. To add to the confusion, with the broad choice of variants, which is the right one to look at?”

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Michel Baudin‘s comments:

tps-house-300x244I share your reservations about the many “Houses of Lean” floating around, but my main concern with them is vagueness. The descriptive versus prescriptive confusion that you bring up is one concern. In one diagram I am looking at right now, “Heijunka” sits on top of “Stability” and underneath “Pull System,” “Takt Time” and “Continuous Flow.” Whatever it is intended to mean, it can’t be that you should implement Heijunka as soon as your processes are stable. Given that there are very few companies outside of the Toyota supply chain that have even implemented Heijunka, it is clearly an advanced topic, not to be tackled until you have done many other things, including items listed above it.

The basic operation when drawing a house of Lean is stacking. It has a well-defined meaning in computer networks, where you talk about “protocol stacks.” For example, the worldwide web sits on top of the internet, and it means that, behind the web face it shows you, your browser uses the internet protocol to communicate with the world, in ways that would be unintelligible to you. The meaning is obviously different in a “House of Lean,” but what is it? And what does it mean to draw a manager inside?

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