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Topic Title: Top Companies not Using Lean
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Created On: 06/23/2019 05:32 PM
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06/26/2019 08:56 AM
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carroll6119
Lucas Carroll



I am currently working on a research paper for my masters degree comparing injury rates of manufacturing companies who have adopted and are using Lean in their operations compared to the companies that don't.

I'm having difficulty finding information on manufacturing companies that are not currently using Lean. Could anyone provide me with some name of companies not utilizing Lean processes and tools?
07/16/2019 09:59 AM
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PeteConnor
Pete Connor



Hi Carol,

the problem is, that those businesses not on any form of lean journey, will probably not be keeping a track of their accidents in a documented way.
I'm not sure which part of the world you are in, but in the UK, we have the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), who might be work contacting, if relevant, to give you some figures?

Hope you get the information you require.
07/16/2019 09:59 AM
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vz4rp6
Patrick Cowling



I wrote a paper "Managing the return of Marginal and Handicapped employees to a Factory Environment" (Many years ago) A copy should be with Library of Congress.
In any event, we were starting with lean at our plant. As I knew more than Lean than anyone, I built information to identify places were people were being hurt. Often went on the jobs to understand the issue and worked to provide solutions.
I can be reached at patcowling@gmail.com should you want to find out more
07/16/2019 10:00 AM
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MattS
Matthew Spielman



Nobody is going to publicize that they aren't lean. And many will say they are, but not be doing it well.

I'm not sure what you mean by "top companies," but you can certainly look at documents of public companies for clues that they aren't lean:

High inventory / low turnover
labor strife / employee turnover
inefficient supply chain / global manufacturing out of China / "mega" ("giga") factories vs. modular
long product development cycles
Shrinking / closing locations (over a relatively long period of time)

Of course, these all have to be weighed against some measure to know "high" vs. "low." But since you didn't ask the converse question, I assume you have some kind of list of lean companies for the other half of your comparison. Look at these metrics for your "champion" companies, and find a contender within their industry that raises one or more of these red flags.

Although not often talked about, I do think safety is another good indicator. It is one my company often uses when looking at a potential acquisition or partner. Both 5S organization and respect for people point to safe environments.
07/19/2019 10:26 AM
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oberkele
Owen Berkeley-Hill



Matt is right; not many companies have the honesty to say they are not "doing" Lean. They will probably say they have done it and moved on to the next or subsequent initiative, whatever the Harvard Business Review says is the flavour of the week. The core of Lean is a workforce that continually learns in a Learning Organisation which was developed by the belief and behaviour of the leadership. The learning is done through kaizen. In my opinion, the question which will separate the sheep from the goats is, "How many improvements per person are done annually? Errr... including the leadership?". The goats will probably look at you with complete incomprehension and say that that is not one of their KPIs. The organisation will be motoring along its Lean journey if everyone is tackling successfully 10-20 improvements a year. Think of the mentoring and coaching involved. Think of the ability of the workforce to see and quickly separate the Abnormal from the Normal and apply A3 thinking to return the Abnormal situation to the Normal (Standard). And if the Normal needs to change or improve they are capable of applying their minds.

If you have that level of ability, there will be a strong correlations with a significantly improved safety record.

Sadly, what you may find is that there are very few leaders around the world, probably less than the number of hen's teeth, who truly believe in Lean. You may want to read Bob Emiliani's book, The Triumph of Classical Management over Lean Management, but don't do so if you have a fragile disposition :-).
07/23/2019 09:30 PM
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Robert_Simonis
Robert Simonis



How about Apple and Tesla?

Lean is a strategy that improves cost competitiveness and drives customer satisfaction; but some companies survive and thrive by instead focusing on innovation and/or customer service. A truly great company would have all three, but I think there are examples of (currently) successful companies that only have one of the three.

Without giving names, I can think of companies that are not the cheapest, but they are the preferred provider because the customer feels they get superior service (or quality), or simply because they are the cheapest or most convenient. Some companies thrive by providing the least expensive products available (and may or may not achieve that with Lean), and some companies provide something that others cannot (innovation). Look at the top companies in any industry and I think you will find examples of each type.
07/30/2019 01:41 PM
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oberkele
Owen Berkeley-Hill



hi Robert,
The problem with Lean is that it is so badly defined, if defined at all. Not many think of Lean beyond Manufacturing, Operations or the Supply Chain. And yet, can a company achieve good quality, and customer service which leads to customer satisfaction without the whole company being involved from Product Development through Finance, Sales & Marketing to HR and Organisational Development? How would a Lean Marketeer behave? Stick with BOGOF or try to understand what the customer values and feed this back to the rest of the company? As for innovation, imagine an organisation achieving between 10-20 improvements per person every year, including the leadership. How good would the coaching and mentoring have to be to achieve this? What would learning be like in that organisation? Would they come up with their own solutions to problems or just rely unthinkingly on the Toyota Toolbox? Would that be innovative?

I have asked the question here about a good definition which had reached a high level of consensus and got batted down. The consensus was that Lean was so "contextual" that it was impossible to define.

For me, Lean is about a different form of leadership which might be difficult to grow. For me Lean is about reducing Muda, Mura and Muri. It is all about creating a Learning Organisation through an obsession with kaizen. Lean is about growing your people and using technology to help them to do a better job through the reduction of the 3 Ms. How many MBAs today can create that environment if they are obsessed with cost reduction and "maximising shareholder value" at any cost so the company (and they) look good in the short term or the next shareholders' meeting; it helps improve their golden parachutes; and they will be long gone before the company faces the inevitable decline over the long term.

Apple: it was not long ago that Microsoft was the poster child. Apple has remained at the top of their game but I'd like to understand their culture a bit better and I'd like to see how they fare over, say, five or ten decades (but I may not be around that long) :-).

Tesla: there seems to be a very strong correlation between success and the growth of uber hubris in the successful leader, such as Elon Musk. Unlike Robert Townsend (Avis) they do not have people around them who can tell them when they are making mistakes (Robert Townsend believed he only had a batting average of 0.333 when it came to making the right decisions). Musk wants to create a "dark factory". Roger Smith tried to do this in the 90s with the Cadillac factory at Hamtramck. Out went the workers and in came the robots. Hubris encouraged GM to invite their NUMMI partners , Toyota, to come and look at this "innovative" use of technology. When the guys from Toyota said it would not work GM dismissed this as sour grapes. You can read all about this book, Comeback, by Paul Ingrassia and Joseph White (1994).
07/30/2019 01:41 PM
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MattS
Matthew Spielman



Robert,
Those are great examples of prominent non-lean companies. But I don't think Apple fits the original request of a manufacturer, since they do so little of their own manufacturing.

Tesla, however, would be an excellent example, since they occupy the former NUMMI plant, and I believe hired from their old workforce. It would be quite an opportunity to take NUMMI vs. Tesla head-to-head from a safety standpoint, since Tesla day they have heavily automated their processes. (and had crazy issues with it, including assembly lines in the parking lot)
08/02/2019 04:53 PM
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82482
Graham Hill



Hi Lucas

As Pete Connor suggests, there are detailed accident statistics available from the Health & Safety Executive website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/statisti...bles/index.htm#riddor
The statistics break down the different types of accident by industry.

I suggest you contact the HSE directly with your research questions and see if you can gain access to individual company accident data.

It should not be difficult to create a simple practices based classification system to identify the degree of lean (it is rarely black and white, even at my industrial alma mater Toyota) and to correlate the accidents data with the degree of lean.

Of course, correlation is not causation, so having e.g. a high correlation between low lean companies and high accident rates does not prove that the lack of lean caused the accidents.

You should not have a problem with Data Protection legislation, at least in the UK, as there are exceptions for research and statistical purposes.

Good luck.
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