Saturday, November 15, 2003

Why is Lean Important?

Because it is a framework for understanding complex systems.

Perhaps this is obvious...perhaps it simply is another "layer of the onion" that peeled back for me. But this basic fact really hit me like a ton of CCA-laced lumber late this week.

In a week full of tough issues, with all the complexity that comes when dealing with people, money, projects, products, the economy, the weather, quality, customers, vendors, bankers, planners, users, paperwork, software, the list goes on; in this complexity, an over-arching framework for understanding is oh so very helpful.

For example, when faced with a pricing question, I went mentally to a value stream map for the item of interest and could begin to estimate the true "value added" costs that went into it...from that, could begin to think clearly about the actual cost and how it was different. Without that framework, it would have just been a matter of debate; "I think it's too high"--"No way, it's actually too low!"

More of concern, without a framework, a job can become simply "Let's work harder" or "Let's try this" or "Let's change the whole thing." There is no sense of putting precious effort onto the point where it can truly help. There is no framework for improvment.

There is no framework for hope.

The business world is incredibly complex and only getting more so. The lean framework is crucial for me to keep focus and useful action.

I hope this is helpful for you to make sense of your complex world.

Feel free to forward to a friend. Email me

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