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What is happening in lean manufacturing in the world
Curated by Michel Baudin
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Lean 2.0: Faster, Better, Permanent | Jim Hudson | Lean Expert Academy

"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 insight:
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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How is lean different from Taylorism? | Michael Ballé | LEI

How is lean different from Taylorism? | Michael Ballé | LEI | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"They are completely different indeed. They differ in their purpose, their practice and their outcomes. Lean is about self-reflection and seeking smarter, less wasteful dynamic solutions together. Taylorism is about static optimization of work imposed by 'those who know' on 'those who do.'"

Michel Baudin's insight:
Yes, "Scientific Management" was just a marketing label for theories that weren't truly scientific but were instead based on a simplistic view of human nature. And Taylor's stopwatch time studies were just aimed at increasing production at every operation with no consideration of flow. 

I would, however, ask for a more accurate and complete story, starting with the timeline. It is easy to check. For example, Taylor couldn't have had many brilliant insights in "mid-nineteenth century" because he wasn't born until 1856. Also, the Toyota Production System originated before 1960. 

The time matters because everything changed in America between 1850 and 1900, as it did in Japan between 1930 and 1960. By 1900, the American manufacturing industry had sprouted companies with tens of thousands of employees, employing many non-English speakers straight from farms in Eastern and Southern Europe, with primary school educations at best. It is quite possible that the communication challenges with the work force played a role in shaping Taylor's perceptions.  

Toyota's post-war workforce was comprised of native Japanese speakers, like their managers, and, like their American counterparts, better educated than 50 years earlier. As a result, some management approaches could work with them that Taylor wouldn't have thought possible in 1900. 

The article also implicitly attributes Ford's mass production system to Taylor. The Ford people would disagree with this, but it is a common and deliberate confusion made by French unions. In their literature, words like "taylorism" and "toyotism" also  serve to create further confusion and paint both as ideological smokescreens used by evil employers. 

The article also omits some of Taylor's actual contributions. This includes technical work like the invention of high-speed steel and the theory of functional foremanship which, while never used as he prescribed, defined the list of support departments found today in just about any manufacturing facility. See Fairness to Frederick Taylor (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-48up) and Lean's Midlife Crisis (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-51NS).




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Jens R. Woinowski (leanself.org)'s curator insight, March 10, 2016 2:03 AM
Yes, "Scientific Management" was just a marketing label for theories that weren't truly scientific but were instead based on a simplistic view of human nature. And Taylor's stopwatch time studies were just aimed at increasing production at every operation with no consideration of flow. 

I would, however, ask for a more accurate and complete story, starting with the timeline. It is easy to check. For example, Taylor couldn't have had many brilliant insights in "mid-nineteenth century" because he wasn't born until 1856. Also, the Toyota Production System originated before 1960. 

The time matters because everything changed in America between 1850 and 1900, as it did in Japan between 1930 and 1960. By 1900, the American manufacturing industry had sprouted companies with tens of thousands of employees, employing many non-English speakers straight from farms in Eastern and Southern Europe, with primary school educations at best. It is quite possible that the communication challenges with the work force played a role in shaping Taylor's perceptions.  

Toyota's post-war workforce was comprised of native Japanese speakers, like their managers, and, like their American counterparts, better educated than 50 years earlier. As a result, some management approaches could work with them that Taylor wouldn't have thought possible in 1900. 

The article also implicitly attributes Ford's mass production system to Taylor. The Ford people would disagree with this, but it is a common and deliberate confusion made by French unions. In their literature, words like "taylorism" and "toyotism" also  serve to create further confusion and paint both as ideological smokescreens used by evil employers. 

The article also omits some of Taylor's actual contributions. This includes technical work like the invention of high-speed steel and the theory of functional foremanship which, while never used as he prescribed, defined the list of support departments found today in just about any manufacturing facility. See Fairness to Frederick Taylor (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-48up) and Lean's Midlife Crisis (http://wp.me/p3Jqq9-51NS).




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Toyota Unveils Revamped Manufacturing Process

Toyota Unveils Revamped Manufacturing Process | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Toyota broke a two-year silence on a revamped manufacturing process—built on sharing components among vehicles—that it says will produce half its vehicles by 2020 and slash costs.
Michel Baudin's insight:

Other than that Toyota has a plan, the article does not directly reveal specifics. As several readers pointed out in their comments, sharing components across models is not a new idea and is not risk-free, even if executed perfectly, as it reduces the differences between your standard and luxury models in ways that customers may notice. 

 

The most revealing parts of the article, to me, are (1) the reference to VW, and (2) the keyword "modular assembly." Modular assembly sounds self-explanatory but it isn't. It is a specific approach to assembling cars brought to VW by former GM purchasing executive Jose Ignacio Lopez in the 1990s, in which up to 90% of the work traditionally done in a car assembly plant is done by suppliers and all that remains is the final assembly of large subsystems. 

 

The Porsche plant in Leipzig, for example, does not stamp, weld, or paint car bodies. It receives them ready to assemble, in a spotlessly clean facility that customers are encouraged to visit.

 

The whole site is in fact dominated by its visitor center, complete with a fine-dining restaurant overlooking the plant and where new buyers can receive an hour's worth of training on their new cars on the test track. In the same spirit, VW has set up an assembly plant in downtown Dresden, with glass walls to enable passers by to watch cars being assembled. 

 

Modular assembly was used by GM in Lordstown, OH, in 1999, (http://bit.ly/1NnPXwt) and then by VW in Spain, and by DaimlerBenz for the Smart in Hambach, France (http://bit.ly/1xmRyi6). At the time, Toyota evaluated the concept and passed on it. Apparently, Toyota's production leaders changed their minds. 

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Philip Marris's curator insight, March 29, 2015 5:01 AM

Michel Baudin makes the following valuable comments:

(see his excellent news website: http://www.scoop.it/t/lean-manufacturing)

 

"Other than that Toyota has a plan, the article does not directly reveal specifics. As several readers pointed out in their comments, sharing components across models is not a new idea and is not risk-free, even if executed perfectly, as it reduces the differences between your standard and luxury models in ways that customers may notice. 

 

The most revealing parts of the article, to me, are (1) the reference to VW, and (2) the keyword "modular assembly." Modular assembly sounds self-explanatory but it isn't. It is a specific approach to assembling cars brought to VW by former GM purchasing executive Jose Ignacio Lopez in the 1990s, in which up to 90% of the work traditionally done in a car assembly plant is done by suppliers and all that remains is the final assembly of large subsystems. 

 

The Porsche plant in Leipzig, for example, does not stamp, weld, or paint car bodies. It receives them ready to assemble, in a spotlessly clean facility that customers are encouraged to visit.

 

The whole site is in fact dominated by its visitor center, complete with a fine-dining restaurant overlooking the plant and where new buyers can receive an hour's worth of training on their new cars on the test track. In the same spirit, VW has set up an assembly plant in downtown Dresden, with glass walls to enable passers by to watch cars being assembled. 

 

Modular assembly was used by GM in Lordstown, OH, in 1999, (http://bit.ly/1NnPXwt) and then by VW in Spain, and by DaimlerBenz for the Smart in Hambach, France (http://bit.ly/1xmRyi6). At the time, Toyota evaluated the concept and passed on it. Apparently, Toyota's production leaders changed their minds. 

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'Lean' Manufacturing Takes Root in U.S. | Fox News

'Lean' Manufacturing Takes Root in U.S. | Fox News | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
It’s called “lean” manufacturing, and analysts say it enables managers to reduce redundancy, increase output and save capital that can be used to hire more workers.
Michel Baudin's insight:

This article in from April 29, 2011, but I just found it today. The facts are approximate, as you would expect from Fox News, but the video includes a good segment on a raku-raku seat in action and an interview of Jeffrey Liker. 

 

The article presents the Toyota Production System are being strictly make-to-order, which makes you wonder where the new Toyotas for sale at your local dealership come from. 

 

Toyota's system is also presented as centered on collocating designers, suppliers, sales and marketing by project, which says nothing about production... Incidentally, no one who has actually researched Toyota's approach to product development describes it as collocating everybody. 

 

Even the Liker quote about Toyota's not having laid off anybody during the financial crisis, while formally accurate, does not take into account what happened with temporary workers. These workers do not have the tenured status of permanent employees, but some work for the company continuously for years.

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Why Toyota is Lean...and You're Not

Why Toyota is Lean...and You're Not | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

Jeffrey Liker on what Lean really is. An interesting article, with which I have a few quibbles:

1.The Shingo Prize rewards companies for looking Lean, not being Lean, as evidenced by the prize's inability to predict competitive performance (See http://bit.ly/Lp23DY).

2. The Machine that Changed the World and Lean Thinking introduced the word Lean, not the concept. It existed before, for a good 10 years, under a succession of names that didn't catch on as well as Lean did, including TPS, WCM, and others.

3. His conclusion is overly optimistic: "At the end of the day U.S. manufacturers that invest in developing skilled, motivated leaders whose passion is to develop people who can improve processes in the long-term will beat the competition every time." I don't think it's true, because they will be competing against manufacturers elsewhere doing the same.

I also do not see this statement as an accurate summary of Lean. Under Alfred P. Sloan's leadership in the 1920s, GM did everything the statement says. When Peter Drucker wrote Concept of the Corporation in 1946, GM was arguably the best run company in the world, particularly in leadership development, but, even looking back, you wouldn't call it Lean.

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The Internet of Things in Toyota Operations | Laura Putre | Industry Week

The Internet of Things in Toyota Operations | Laura Putre | Industry Week | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"... Trever White, divisional information officer, noted that his team is regularly on the plant floor, building good relationships so team members can articulate what their challenges are. One challenge they recently identified was the need to build a containment system to more quickly identify and contain a quality issue when it emerges..."

Michel Baudin's insight:
As described in this article, advanced IT for Manufacturing, at Toyota, starts from the needs of the shop floor and works its way up. First, you build systems that take root because they help in daily operations, Then you extract and summarized data from these systems for the benefit of managers and engineers. 

ERP, on the other hand, starts from the needs of management and works its way down, and I think it is the key reason why ERP success stories are so hard to find. 


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François Pellerin's curator insight, May 19, 2016 1:00 AM

L'Internet des objets comme source d'information pour les équipes Kaizen

 

Robin MARINO's curator insight, May 26, 2016 2:19 AM

Fully applicable in Aerospace industry, within a Manufacturing Execution System?

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Sorry, But Lean Is About Cost Reduction... | Rob van Stekelenborg | LinkedIn

Sorry, But Lean Is About Cost Reduction... | Rob van Stekelenborg | LinkedIn | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"It seems to be popular these last years and more recently to explicitly state that Lean is not (only) about cost reduction or cost cutting. See the recent posts by Mark Graban or Matt Hrivnak. So let me be somewhat controversial in this post (which I think is allowed to spark the discussion) and drop a bombshell: I think Lean is about cost reduction."

Michel Baudin's insight:
I know that much of the TPS literature is about "reducing costs," but it never includes any discussion of money! Ohno is even quoted as saying "Costs are not there to be measured, but to be reduced." On the face of it, it makes no sense, because cost is an accounting term intended to represent the monetary value of all the resources spent to achieve a result. 

You convert the quantities of materials, energy, outsourced services, labor, machine time, transportation, etc., into money so that you can add them up. There are many different ways to do it, particularly when it comes to allocating resources that are shared or used over time, and plenty of arguments about which one is "right," but the intent is always the same. And whenever you talk about reducing cost, it means making these amounts of money smaller. 

But the TPS authors never discuss it in this fashion, which tells me that they mean something different when they say "cost." The main reason we should never say that Lean is about cost reduction is that, just about anywhere other than Toyota, it will be immediately misunderstood as cutting every department's budget by 5%, or similar measures.

I see the point of eliminating waste as concurrently improving all dimensions of performance. You cannot boil a process down to just what physically changes workpieces. There are plenty of necessary steps that don't and they are not waste; overproduction, overprocessing, waiting, unnecessary stocks, etc., are unnecessary. Eliminating them makes no dimension of your performance worse, that is what makes them waste. 

If improving your performance in terms of lead time, delivery, quality, safety, and morale does not translate to reductions in cost, there is something wrong with the way your accounting system keeps score. 

In the discussion, Rob expressed surprise that I "evaluate something to be waste only if when you take it out it doesn't deteriorate performance." and added: "There are plenty of activities that are necessary and that you can't take out but that are still waste."

The Japanese word we translate as "waste" is "muda," which strictly means "unnecessary." And, if something is unnecessary, by definition, you are no worse off without it. In manufacturing, an activity is unnecessary if, and only if, no dimension of performance goes worse when you stop doing it. 

If you look at all the listed categories of waste, they fit this criterion. On the other hand, I see no point in branding as "waste" something that you have to do anyway. Revision management in technical data does make a single hole in a piece of metal, but it can't be dispensed with no matter what. So I am not going to tell the people who do it that it is waste! 

I see all the discussions identifying "value added" with customers' willingness to pay or physical transformation of materials as creating confusion. The only thing that matters is whether an activity is necessary or not. If it is, you must be effective and efficient at it; if not, stop doing it.
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The Legacy of Eiji Toyoda | Businessweek

The Legacy of Eiji Toyoda | Businessweek | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it
Washington Post
The Legacy of Eiji Toyoda
Businessweek
He transformed Toyota into a global powerhouse with management and manufacturing processes that transcended the auto industry.
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Enterprise Ireland and Lean | Irish Times

Enterprise Ireland and Lean | Irish Times | lean manufacturing | Scoop.it

"The Japanese are renowned worldwide for their car production where the concept of the management philosophy Lean derives from. It all began at Toyota when the car manufacturers discovered a new, more efficient method of producing cars valued by customers all over the world. The principles learned at Toyota became known as Lean which is claimed can be applied to almost any business. The core principle is creating value by reducing waste and unnecessary risk."

Michel Baudin's insight:

While informing us that the Irish government has an agency promoting Lean, this article reflects common misperceptions. 

 

No, it's not a "Japanese management philosophy." it is an approach developed by individuals who happened to be Japanese, which is not the same. Most Japanese today do not know or practice it, and quite a few non-Japanese do. 

 

And this emphasis on "creating value" is an American talking point, not the Toyota Production System. 

 

According to the article "Toyota benchmark themselves constantly," which is news to me. While it is clear that Toyota is on the lookout for new ideas, I had not heard of Toyota doing benchmarking surveys of competitors. My understanding is that Toyota's management considers such surveys to be a waste of time. 

 

The article equates Lean with Continuous Improvement, giving the impression that it's all there is to it. 

 

And finally, the article repeats the Business Week claim that the Shingo Prize is "the Nobel Prize for operational excellence."

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