A singularly bad idea

 By  via Manufacturing Leadership Center   Article

Big Data – The Antithesis of Lean Thinking

“… Big Data is the polar opposite of going to the gemba – lean thinking – and a singularly bad idea.  Effective decisions are made by empowered employees … made one at a time at the point of attack, where the work is actually being done.  Big Data … are built on the premise that mountains of data collected at the gemba must be gathered, sorted, analyzed … by smart people in far away headquarters buildings …

“… Imagine … that you run an organization with multiple restaurant outlets and you have amassed point-of-sale data for each of your franchisees, but none of them are using that data … You need to give each of them a report that actually explains how they are doing ….” …

So what sort of information Big Data actually do?  “Foot Long Hot Dogs were this week’s weakest menu item with average daily sales of fewer than 140 units. Bringing the store’s daily sales of Hot Dogs up to the same level as the co-op’s would add about $566 more profit each month. Over a year, that’s an extra $6,828. The store only needs to sell six more units per day to accomplish this.”

At how many levels is this scenario absurd? …

Typical headquarters analytical output – An overwhelming blast of the obvious, and absolutely nothing useful for the people who already know that, but are wrestling every day with how to sell more hot dogs. … Data from the places where people are actually doing things – creating value for customers – is gathered and used by headquarters staffers … and manipulated to create ‘gotcha metrics’ …

There is little in Big Data for people on the front lines, but their corporate critics will think they died and went to heaven with it.”

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