Lean is Not a Revolution

As Dr. Balle said, “Toyota didn’t become number one by having lower manufacturing costs, they became number one by making cars people bought.”

Excerpt from the Transcription of the Business901 Podcast, Outside the Walls of a Lean Enterprise:

Joe:  Before you start can you define Kaizen? Are you defining Kaizen as just continuous improvement?

Michael:  Kaizen has two aspects. One aspect is problem solving, which means every production cell should work at a certain level of standard. Everything should work at a certain level. Then, because the environment changes all the time, the machinery runs down, the customer changes their mind. You know, something happens. So, we’re not at that level. We have to do is to fight very hard every day to stay at that level although the environment has changed.

The second part of Kaizen is, once you are at that level, how do you push the limit? How do you move beyond? How do you have the number of quality problems you have? How do you do the same volume work with one person less on the team in the process, but not with working harder? How do you work safer? That would be the second element of Kaizen. So one is just holding to the standards no matter what the world throws at you. The second time is once you hold your standard, how do you push yourself to actually improve the standard? That would be Kaizen, and Kaizen in terms of small, practical steps.

This is not a revolution, this is solve one thing and prove one thing. This is not turning everything around.

Audio Version: Gold Mine: A Novel of Lean Turnaround
The audiobook features performances by multiple readers who bring its realistic business story and characters to life. You’ll hear from:

Lean is not a revolution, Lean is solve one thing and prove one thing!

2 thoughts on “Lean is Not a Revolution”

  1. It’s no secret that business life, no matter what business you are in, is likeu00a0climbing au00a0descending escalator.nWhich means that if you stand still, you actually go downwards.nYou have to keep pushing to stay at the same level.nAnd you must have the “edge” of Kaizen in order to stay ahead of your competitors on that escalator.nYes, solve one thing at a time and embed that thing, before solving the next thing.nThis is what gives Toyota its competitive edge.nNot world class salesmanship, I lost count of the number of people who complained to me about their experienes at Toyota dealerships.nNot the cars. The cars are good, but not great. They are not the fastest, not the most exciting to drive, not the cheapest, not the best looking, not the best equipped, not even the most economical (including the hybrids).nPeople buy them because, headline problems aside, they are reliable and tend to have fewer quality problems than their competitors. These are qualities the average motorist desires. And these qualities are due to the high manufacturing standards achieved through standardised worku00a0and kaizen.

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