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Lean Alternative to "Spaghetti World"

Jim Womack
11/28/2001
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I wanted to share with you some thoughts on lean thinking in a time of uncertainty that Dan Jones and I recently put together at the request of "Automotive News." (Read story.)

Our key point is that it's now time to re-think the connectivity costs of the "spaghetti world" we've built, where every part in every product seems to travel several times across national borders as it progresses from raw materials to the customer. The alternative to mountains of spaghetti -- and large safety stocks to protect production from supply disruptions at border crossings -- is "value stream compression" in which all of the steps in fabricating and assembling product families are "compressed" in one place -- even in one room -- to dramatically reduce throughput times while largely eliminating connectivity costs. 

I will be describing our ideas for value stream compression and the macro-mapping tool we have devised to help implement it at our Leaner Thinking for Harder Times Conference in Orlando, December 6 and 7. In my opening presentation I will also cover all of the elements of a lean action plan to deal with the current recession, and the workshops that follow will provide detailed advice on implementing each element.

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