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Lean Lessons in the News

Click on the headings below for links to full news articles


Tool and Die – Manufacturing canary in the coal mine?

IndustryWeek recently posted an article on the tool and die industry that’s worth a read. The manufacturing ecosystem depends on healthy tool and die, and the current state is a forecast of what happens in a perfect storm of issues – staid management, lack of trade schools and TWI practices, and overly cost focused customers.

Many of these same issues apply to the manufacturing industry overall. We can’t wait for the economy to be in the right place, for schools to train workers, or for tax breaks to appear. We have to address the issues we see head on with action. Take care of your employees, improve your operation, keep training front and center, and invest now for long term benefit.



Eliminate the waste – not just for lean

TPS lean practitioners often face the question, “Why would I care about lean? I’m not in automotive.” The USNews / AP just released a report on WHO travel expenses that clarifies why lean thinking matters to all organizations. Focus on customer value, respect for people, and understanding of waste (value added vs. non-value added but necessary vs. non-value added waste) are all core elements of the Toyota Operating System that could have prevented this situation from occurring.

Consider these core elements and the core elements of your company’s values in all areas, not just the shop floor.



Complex adaptive systems – a perfect manufacturing phrase

This article on LinkedIn discusses ways to think about complex adaptive systems. What a beautiful phrase to describe manufacturing in today’s environment. Complexity is through the roof, regulations are ever present and uncertain at the same time, and customer choice grows daily. None of that is going to change, so instead of trying to manage it away – engage with it. Change your response, change your organization, change your system to adapt. Your people system is going to matter more than any other system you have.