Necessary But Not Sufficient
One of the hardest things in my line of work is seeing a company make enormous strides in getting lean and yet fail to prosper. Today’s heartbreak is Delphi, the giant American auto-parts company that was one of the founding sponsors of LEI and which has been a test bed for our ideas and publications over the past eight years. As you may know,
I have walked through dozens of Delphi facilities in many countries and in my recent walks I have seen some of the leanest practices I have ever found outside of
So what went wrong? Delphi was caught in the middle between promises made to employees as it departed General Motors and demands from its largest customer (also GM at 50% of
For five years, as
Something had to give and Delphi decided that bankruptcy was the only way to deal with money-losing activities in the
So what’s the takeaway for lean thinkers? Simply fixing operations may not be sufficient if managers wait too late to start and factor costs (principally wages and healthcare costs these days) are too far out of line.
Many observers assume, of course, that a key step for Delphi will be to move practically all
After all, anyone can chase labor. If Delphi simply moves all operations to
What these costs are and where activities should be located depends on the specific customers to be served. (You’ll need some “lean math” to get the right answer.) But I predict that in many cases the right location for
President and Founder
Lean Enterprise Institute
P.S. As a special premium to members of our Lean Community, I’m presenting a Lean Solutions webinar on Nov. 15, 2005, at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern). In this free one-hour event, I’ll describe lean provision and lean consumption as the critical compliments to lean production and the next leap for lean thinkers. You can review this webinar (and others) here: https://www.lean.org/Events/WebinarHome.cfm
Join the Conversation and Stop the Rework
In the spring of 1997, as I was starting the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute, I visited a company that I hoped would be a founding sponsor. I explained to the senior leadership that a lean enterprise was far more than a brilliant production organization, as had they assumed. It was also a brilliant product development organization including a brilliant production process design team.
The Gift of Yokoten
In this article originally published in Planet Lean, after a visit to Goshen, Indiana, Jim Womack shared thoughts on the gift of lean thinking and the obligation that individuals learning this way of thinking feel about sharing what they've learned with others.
The Escalator of Issues
A daily management system with daily performance metrics gives caregivers the sense that managers are really paying attention, that problems really are being addressed, and that over time this will mean stability and a lower level of stress for all staff, says Jim Womack.
- Learing to See the Whole Value Stream: The Power of Value-Stream Mapping
- Sustaining Lean Goals by Taking a (Gemba) Walk
- Forward to Fundamentals
- Managing to Learn: Part 1 - How Lean Leaders Create Productive Problem-Solvers
- The Power of Purpose, Process, and People
- Lean Management & the Role of Lean Leadership
- Lean Solutions