When to apply IT to lean improvements
Are Lean and IT friends or foes? Is that really the right question? Instead, ask when should we introduce technology. In the following graphic, which is related to the use of kanban with suppliers, each phase of the learning/implementation used technology differently. Technology was applied only where it could aid in quality or waste reduction. At the end, technology helped with data analysis. (Source: Jean Cunningham, Jean Cunningham Consulting.)
Read a Q&A with Jean about how lean thinking affects your information technology needs.
How Accounting “Squirrels” Can Ferret Out Waste
While other functions are busy as beavers looking for waste during a lean transformation, your accounting staff is like a squirrel with its head stuck in a yogurt cup. They only see the traditional work right in front of them instead of digging into data for buried “nuts” of waste, says Jean Cunningham, LEI’s new executive chairman.
A Small Amount of Time Can Yield Big Results
Four minutes, well focused, can be a long time, notes Jean Cunningham. Without competing distractions, many words can be spoken, absorption of new info happens, and a good deal can be accomplished. We found we actually got more done by getting clear on our focus and our timeframe.
The Art of Work
A visit to the Grohmann Museum helped remind Jean Cunningham that when done correctly and consistently, lean starts to reconnect people to work and work to people. Using lean principles and tools helps recreate worker ownership of the work, connection to the customer need, and value creation.