Friday, October 03, 2003

Four Quick Stories of Lean

Here are four useful illustrations of Lean I've come across in the past week.

  • A Lean Barber Shop? Yes, indeed. My thanks to my friend and alert reader Brian McCorry for this story, derived from recent Wall Street Journal reports of a lean barber shop. Note how many lean tools this entrepreneur used.

  • Lean Product Development. Thanks to my colleage Ken Kellams, we discover no less a prestigious group than McKinsey & Company producing this paper on product development using standard Lean tools. Eliminating batch and pursuing flow in product development?? Yes, indeed.

  • Lean means changes and how we manage change governs how well (or even if) we can transform. For a delightful look at managing change check out this blog by Jeff Angus. His key point:
    As in most smart efforts to squeeze out process time, you start with waste. And in a human-intensive process like baseball, you don't try to wrench it out all at once -- you tweak, see what happens, repeat.

  • Tom Peters Group walks the talk as I found out this week. On Tuesday, I got an email notice of an early purchase opportunity of Tom's new book. Wanting to take advantage of the offer, I clicked on the Tom Peters Group link. But, for some reason, the page wouldn't load and I couldn't execute the request via the web. I noted a toll-free number and called it.
    • I encountered the most appealing and friendly voice mail greeting I've ever heard. Try it yourself at 1.888.221.8685 if you are in the United States.
    • I pressed the right number to talk to a human. Explained my web problem and she happily took my order over the phone...without getting transferred again.
    • This morning, exactly 48 hours later, I had the two books on my desk here in Indiana.
    The experience was, in a word, remarkable. And, I'm telling you about it.

    On top of all this, my mind is racing from all I saw yesterday at Toyota. Stay tuned for more on that subject.

    I hope this is helpful. And, that you will make your own lean stories.

    Feel free to forward to a friend. Email me

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