Jan 24 2012
Attempts to apply lean approaches to knowledge work have proved frustratingly difficult. Most in the business world believe that knowledge work does not lend itself to lean principles, because, unlike car assembly, it is not repetitive and can’t be unambiguously defined. Consider a bank officer deciding whether to make a loan, an engineer developing a new product, and a social worker ruling on whether a child’s environment is safe: In each instance the work involves expertise and judgment that depend heavily on tacit knowledge—knowledge locked inside the worker’s head.
However, our research in IT, financial, engineering, and legal services reveals that such work can in fact benefit from the principles of the Toyota Production System.
‘Knowledge management’ issues: often just an inability to effectively capture a process.