Home > Knowledge Center> How Lean Thinking Affects Information Needs: a Q & A with Jean Cunningham

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 ...


Related Content



  • 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.
  • Profit and Cost At Toyota
    Fresh off a tour of Japan where she observed how Toyota talks about costs and profit on the shop floor, LEI Chairperson Jean Cunningham shares thoughts and urges others to learn the language of financial outcomes. "Let’s learn the language of financial outcomes. Let’s conserve energy and benefit from the environmental improvements that lean offers by reducing waste of all kinds."