Lean manufacturing Vision
Lean Manufacturing implementation is about Vision. It is about having the ability to visualize one’s current and future conditions in the complex and ever changing global world that most business people now find themselves faced with every day. This ability or the lack thereof, is what has made or lost huge fortunes and even entire industries for millions of entrepreneurs, business managers and stakeholders world-wide for as long as there have been businesses operating and people engaged in competitive commerce.
The manufacturing industry was once centered nearly exclusively in the United States of America. Lean Manufacturing essentially ended that a number of years ago. Initially one company, Toyota had the vision alone to re-create an entire industry, economy and lean manufacturing community that didn’t even exist just a few years ago. It is the continued use of this lean manufacturing vision that will be ultimately shown to have accounted for some of the most spectacular gains in revenues, profits and virtually any other measure of success that you wish to apply in analyzing the phenomenon that is international manufacturing.
More importantly, we’d like to point out how visualizing the desired end-state that can be achieved through the successful implementation of a well thought-out lean manufacturing system and philosophy have been used very successfully in what were, in some cases, floundering manufacturing companies, prior to their adoption of a lean manufacturing culture. This same thinking can actually translate easily and immediately to virtually any other business or industry today, anywhere in the world.
Having been schooled in Japan in the Toyota Lean Manufacturing Production System; having been an implementer of Lean Manufacturing systems world-wide; having “leaned” entire multi-national corporations; having operated as a Lean Manufacturing Consultant and Senior Partner of a Lean Manufacturing Consulting company, we know a lean manufacturing environment when we see it.
Add to this the knowledge the fact that we have been able to gain direct access to the strategic thinking carried out by the leaders of these lean manufacturing implementing companies, we know that other industry decision makers can and are driving their businesses to new heights through lean manufacturing deployment.
Essentially there are two radically different approaches to improving business performance around the globe. One is being used within many American companies and the other is being used just about everywhere else. Not surprisingly both groups are working to achieve the same end: Make money, grow and prosper. However, one is doing exceedingly well, while the other languishes on the verge of extinction.
Lean Manufacturing is not a buzz word. It’s both a strategy and a set of operationally tactical tools that have been functional and effective for many years now within Toyota and their world-wide supply chain partners. It is this approach, exclusive or marketing, pricing, design or any other business feature that has allowed them to catch and pass virtually all other automotive companies.
In Toyota’s case, lean manufacturing is a real understatement. That fact is Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing culture has transcended all aspects of their business from their design centers, to the far ends of their logistics and supply chain operations.
Their accomplishments are being made without adding significant numbers of MBAs, hard to find engineers, CPAs or analysts. They’re doing it without generating reams of reports or thousand column spreadsheets that no one can decipher, or has the time to read. They aren’t making countless praeto graphs depicting their top problems for the day/week/month/year. Their statisticians aren’t armed with Six Sigma, Lean Sigma, or the latest round of buzz-tools that are making the circuit. They know these types of “office exercises” will not help them achieve the remarkable results that they’ve been achieving for some time now.
This is a company that is attaining unprecedented results and continues to do so, year after year. This is a company who has invented the lean manufacturing tools, techniques and on-the-ground (gemba) methods of analysis, and is using them daily, to outperform everyone, on an unrivaled basis. This is not a company that does not have to play catch-up any longer.
The tragedy of it is that all of their results could be easily and immediately achieved by every other automotive company and any other type of business that is engaged in commerce today.
Vision started this phenomenon and vision continues to propel it further. To bad our domestic automakers don’t have that vision.
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