That would be… Consultants.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak about lean for clinical laboratories at the recent Leadership Exchange conference, hosted by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. In discussions during the conference, I was asked many questions about the use of consultants to get started with lean. In many cases, stories started with “Our lab has been leaned out,” with the consequences of positions being eliminated, front-line workers being unhappy with the standard work that someone else had decided for them, and being asked to clock each and every step of their process for days on end.

So my question is, what is passing for lean these days? No wonder I hear people saying, “Lean doesn’t work!”

Now, I know that there are many fine, upstanding lean practitioners out there, who use strategic planning and the A3 approach to lean deployment. Maybe I don’t hear about them because they’re doing a fine, value-added job. But I do hear many stories about lean gone wrong.

Have you had an experience where someone was claiming to be a lean expert, but it didn’t resemble lean philosophy as you know it?

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