SKU Reduction – Reverting to 1913 Thinking | Bill Waddell

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‘The customer can have any color they want, so long as it is black – and white in the middle.’  That seems to be the latest mantra at a growing number of companies as they wrestle with the philosophies of lean and the lack of responsiveness in…”


Michel Baudin‘s insight:

Bill seems to exclude the possibility that a product mix could be trimmed without reducing customer satisfaction, but isn’t that exactly what Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple in 1997? Microsoft has a confusing array of product “editions” which actually make it difficult to figure out what  will meet your needs. To this day, Apple’s product lineup is comparatively simple.

Furthermore, “SKU” covers parts as well as products, and all companies, including Toyota, have suffered from an unnecessary proliferation of parts, simply because software makes it often easier to design a new part than to reuse an existing one.

According to Bill, also: “That Henry Ford pioneered lean in the modern era is not up for debate.” In fact, the term Mass Production was coined specifically to describe what came out of Ford. When discussing Lean, the proper focus is on the ways it differs from Mass Production, not the many things it has in common with it, because they are not what makes it work better.

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