Does it really matter whether I call it Lean or something else?
I overheard a discussion a few days ago about why â€œLeanâ€ is called by this name? Â I was very interested when I heard the responses from several of the experts in the room. It was like they were reading their answers off the inside of a jacket cover from a typical Lean book. They talked about increasing profits, reducing waste, and improving the bottom line. Wow, interesting concepts, but none of these ideas match my personal interpretation of the word, â€œLean.â€ Why is this?
Consulting companies, who were trying to entice business owners to use their services, developed many of these monetary based concepts over the past three decades. Overall, Lean principles have been launched onto the business world as a group of efficient cost cutting tools. Lean is not a cost centric process, it is focused on one thing and that is improving value for customers.
The Toyota Production System is based on several key principles developed by Sakichi Toyoda. The number one principle is â€œRespect for Peopleâ€, therefore a company that uses Lean principles to cut heads has little to no respect for people. If they did, they would have dealt with the over manning issues much earlier and used Lean to improve their business processes to secure and improve the jobs of the remaining people.