How Lean Thinking Affects Information Needs: a Q & A with Jean Cunningham
Jean Cunningham pioneered the diffusion of lean principles from the manufacturing floor to finance, information systems, human resources, and telecommunications, starting at Lantech, whose lean transformation was described in Lean Thinking.
LEI recently asked her, “What questions do you hear most often from Lean Thinkers struggling with the information needs of a lean organization?” She replied:
- Will I need a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system when I adopt lean?
- How will I know if lean is having a positive impact on my financial results?
- If I am a division of a larger company that has not adopted lean thinking, how can I explain the impact of the investment I am making with lean?
- Sometimes lean sounds like a religion and that you have to be a true believer. I am much more of a nuts-and-bolts person who wants to see tangible results. Is this part of lean, too?
- What is the role of the IT function in the lean business strategy?
Read Jean's answers ...
An Accountant’s Guide to Understanding Lean Accounting
I think one of the difficulties accountants face in understanding Lean Accounting is that we are trained to be “doers” of accounting. Our training and education is about how to perform accounting tasks and functions, from learning the basics of journal entries in Accounting 101 to how to close the month in the company we work at. We want to master how to execute, and the better we are at executing, the better accountants we are.
To understand Lean Accounting, accountants need to adjust their perspective from “doing” to “practicing.” And the first step to begin practicing Lean Accounting is to change the way we think as accountants.
Lean Accounting Is Simpler, Faster, Cheaper, and More Accurate Than Traditional Management Accounting, so Why Don’t More Companies Use It?
Five thought leaders of the movement recently held a special conversation about what lean accounting is and isn’t, why it is vital to sustaining a culture of continuous improvement, how it relates to GAAP, and why it provides a truer picture of how your company is performing. As long-time lean accounting practitioners, they also liberally share practical, real-world examples of how traditional accounting can mislead and misinform decision-makers.
Thoughts on the Birth of Lean
There is much to be learned from the history of Lean that applies powerfully today in every aspect of the business. In this summary of key points from The Birth of Lean, LEI Chair Jean Cunningham shares insights from her reading of the book, and invites you to share thoughts as well.