As I dodge lighting bolts

By Mark Halper via   Article

Iconoclasm of the day: Is lean manufacturing long in the tooth?

““It’s hard to think of a principle that the business world worships more than “lean.”

This manufacturing religion, hatched by its demigod Toyota 50 years ago, has attracted followers the world over who bow to its commandments of just-in-time delivery, of minimizing waste, of problem solving workshops, of emergency cords that workers can pull to halt assembly, and much, much more. …

In an essay entitled Next frontiers for lean, McKinsey preaches that industries outside of manufacturing should convert, especially service industries like retailing, health care, finance, information technology, airlines and also the public sector.

As I dodge lighting bolts, I ask: What?!!

You mean the same lean production system, the same Toyota that has churned out all those faulty cars and whose name has become somewhat synonymous with “recall” in recent years? The Toyota that has had to yank some of its best known brands off the road, most recently the Prius, preceded by the Camry, Corolla and others, for mishaps including sudden acceleration, unexpected stops and fire hazards? The same Toyota where the recall count has exceeded 20 million alone since January 2012? …

Lean has served industry well. But it seems that it’s time to write a new manufacturing holy book. Or at least to add a new testament to the old one.”


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