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Real Lean vs. Fake Lean

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  • #28822

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Folks:I am taking an MBA class on lean business, and we are studying the Toyota Production System (TPS) and have discussed the difference between what the professor terms “real lean” and “fake lean”; with the former referring to kaizen-mentality “continuous process improvement” and the latter referring to the infamous CEO hat trick–massive layoffs, squeezing suppliers etc.; while both are aimed at boosting shareholder value.
    In my class, we discussed “Neutron” Jack Welch, “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap, Linda Wachner, and others, who ruthlessly and relentlessly lay off employees and manage by fear, in an exclusive pursuit of augmenting shareholder value.
    My MBA professor contends that “real lean” employs a high respect for employees as stakeholders, and emphasizes a stakeholder focus, rather than a shareholder focus. My professor maintains that the prevailing mentality of aggressive management by fear–“fake lean”–such as employed by Al Dunlap, Linda Wachner, Steve Jobs, and reputed others, cannot sustain the long-term health of a company, and does not constitute leadership.
    To me, the “real lean” sounds idealistic and difficult to achieve, particularly if you are working for the Steve Jobs’, Linda Wachner’s and Al Dunlap’s of the world.
    I’d like your thoughts on whether one can viably manage a business–whether at the CEO level or several layers below–by employing “real lean” management methods vs. “fake lean” methods as described above, in the context of reality and practicality in today’s corporate environment.
    Thanks,Mark

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    #72359

    Mikel
    Member

    Mark,
    Let’s look at the data. Toyota (real lean) continues to gain market share and make profits in excess of most of their competitiors. It seems to work.
    I don’t agree with putting Welch in the fake lean group. GE is an agressive culture, but I would not call it a culture of fear. You are only in fear there if you are not driving.

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    #72360

    Anonymous
    Participant

    I’m not sure that fake lean is an accurate description of the type of management style that lays off employees as you described.  Fake means “not real” and “Fake Lean” is definiately real.  With a “Real” lean process you have less inventory to manage, less waste in the system, better process flow, etc…  The unfortunate truth is in a lean environment you simply have no need for as many employees.  I agree with you and your professor that there are better ways to handle this situation than massive layoffs.  The company I work for is going through a huge effort in lean with incredible results,and, without massive layoffs.  Alternatives include; early retirement package, attrition, etc…  The main reasons company’s opt for the massive layoffs is simply due to a quick savings in labor.
    My 2 cents.

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    #72364

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Stan,
    The reason behind Jack Welch being regarded as a fear-driver is because he got to the top by laying off people.
    The thought is: if you are managing using the right techniques and processes, you wouldn’t have been in the situation wherein you “need” to lay off all those people.
    What are your thoughts on this:  The professor says that you can follow aggregate-level-hiring (a black belt friend of mine, Dan, used this term) where you maintain a relatively stable headcount, or you can follow an extreme sine-curve type of hiring, where depending on at-the-moment market conditions, you can hire or fire in large numbers. The former sounds ideal, but is our corporate environment receptive to this method?
    Mark

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    #72366

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    One argument that was presented goes as follows: without continually hiring and firing (or “recycling”) employees, a corporation is not bringing in new and fresh talent. How does a “real lean” corporation, that does not advocate periodic employee “recycling”, manage to add the kind of value realized in “new and fresh talent”.  Or, we can take a step back and ask, Does “new and fresh talent” in fact, add more value, than merely developing “seasoned talent.”
    I wonder what the statistics for attrition are, in “real lean” companies.
    Mark

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    #72370

    RR Kunes
    Member

    Your professor is right on. And surprisingly I find that  a unique experience.
    As a Six Sigma Master BB and a Lean Expert coming out of the Allied Signal world we learn that the employee is someone to understand and respect. If fact we have a program setup to relocate displaced employees that result from “REAL” lean or six sigma initiatives.
    Having worked for Sunbeam I can tell you that the plan from day one was to offload as much work as possible to outside vendors at the expense of headcount. Several large international companies I have workedfor  referred to employees and ” Money walks on two legs”. “If you want to make the numbers bounce bodies.”
    However, real lean and six sigma projects do really reduce the needed headcount. However, if you do not put in place a program to protect those employees as much as possible, further improvement will never happen.
    Good Luck with your studies and be grateful you actually have a professor that has been in touch with the real world.
    Ron

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    #72373

    Jim deVries
    Participant

    Mark,
    Your professor’s cut-off definitions between “real lean” and “fake lean” are very interesting.  There will always be some “fake lean” going on in a company.  This is due to political and economic rollercoasters that always previal in the real world.  Therefore, the knee-jerk reaction will always be to lay-off a number of employees in reponse to market demands in order to satisfy shareholder value – which will then allow the CEO to keep his/her job for a little longer.
    As far as “real-lean” being implemented, it also has limitations (just study Dell Computer as an example).  However, “real-lean” being actually implemented is a rarity – if ever is being performed correctly.  Remember the real goal of Lean is JIT.  However, the real change that has to occur stems back to the beginning of all Quality initiative: culture change (commonly known as change management).  Every company will take a different path to allow these changes to occur – because every company’s culture is different. 
    Therefore, although Toyota has shown success, it is much more than Kaizen getting them to becoming a successful automotive manufacturing.  It is rooted in their culture –  a culture that GM or Ford would never accept due to their bureaucracy. 
    Bottom-line, there is not a single program – Lean, Yearly Layoffs, Six Sigma, Change Management, DFSS, … that can change a culture.  Every company culture will need to find what tools and combinations will work best for them so that they minimize the “fake-lean” syndrome.  A current popular approach is to group all of these intiatives under one and call it Six Sigma – integrating lean, change management, DFSS, Customer Dashboards/Scorecards, etc. as necessary to start becoming a PROACTIVE company to prevent the knee-jerk reaction of “fake-lean”.  This transformation will take some time – maybe even 5 years before the whole company sees this vision.  With the right leadership, it can all happen.
    I hope that this helps!  Cheers!
     

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    #72377

    Jim deVries
    Participant

    Mark,
    Another question to ask is “how do I motivate my current employees to perform at their highest capabilities?”  Although, I agree that companies need to remove a small percentage of people through attrition and lay-off’s, I believe that the question above is the biggest issue that Jack Welch tried to address with his 20 years as CEO.  …and I believe that he did a very good job.  THe Japanese (e.g., Toyota) have also been working at this the longest.  The danger is that you can go overboard with trying to motivate and not gain enough fresh new ideas – which is what the Japanese economy is currently facing.  Playing in your own house too long sometimes causes you to become stale.
    Great topic!!  You could write a book on this…
    Cheers!

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    #72378

    Owen Berkeley Hill
    Participant

    Mark,
    “Fake” Lean is just the Al Qaida wing of management hijacking a great philosophy to their own, short-term ends.
    Organizations which have struggled (and it is a struggle or journey) to implement this philosophy will tell you that without the Gemba you have nothing.
    One of the key components of Lean is hoshin kanri (a.k.a. policy deployment).  Without hoshin, Lean becomes just an interesting bag of tools, which includes 6-Sigma.  You cannot align a whole organization, using hoshin, if large numbers are under threat of redundancy.  If the organization is not aligned you may run the risk of headless-chicken syndrome.
    Another distinction between “fake” and “real” is that the “real” stuff relies on empowered people on the floor taking ownership of their surrounding and continuously striving to eliminate waste.  I’m not sure you are going to instill a kaizen culture if these same people believe their management see them as a form of waste.
    Hope this helps.
    PS I’m doing an MSc in Lean Operations at Cardiff

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    #72417

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    To work in a Japanese company or an American company?
    The Japanese companies, as we study in business school, and TPS, etc., are seen as idealistic in their approach to management, creation of shareholder value, and as a real benefactor to all stakeholders. I also understand that in a true Japanese-style company, rewards and incentives are team-based vs. the American-style where individual achievements are rewarded. In my limited corporate experience, I don’t know if there are many American companies that emphasize more team-based performance than individual-based performance — please enlighten me.
    My question is, if you are a star performer, how do you come to grips with what sounds theoretically idealistic; namely, a team-based reward system (which might be great if you are a mediocre performer) with what sounds more desirable; namely, individual achievement-based compensation (which is great if you are a given top-performer, for your group.)
    Further, if comp is team-based, what incentive do I have to excel and continue to raise the bar of my performance?
    I don’t mean to focus on compensation (which might more relevant to an HR message group), but I am trying to understand or justify to myself the lean-Japanese style managed company and its rewards system, to the “fat” American-style management.
    Your thoughts please. Thanks!
    Mark

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    #72418

    ?
    Participant

    Stop the chaos!! Despite having the highest perceived quality levels in almost all industries, the Japanese economy is tanking. Maybe Lean is the culprit.

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    #72419

    Mikel
    Member

    Mark,
    You are misinformed. Jack didn’t get to the top by laying people off, he was already at the top. He inherited an organization that was not rational. He dealt with that and then started on his journey of culture change.
    Go check the data.

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    #72421

    Mikel
    Member

    If you think that Dell and real lean belong in the same sentence, you’ve bought into some real hype. Go look at the massive warehouses surrounding their facilities and all the inventory on the water and harbours of Long Beach, Singapore, …
    They are responsive to the end customer by holding massive inventories on their suppliers books. Definitely not lean.

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    #72422

    Mikel
    Member

    Mark,
    Do they really tell you that the world is divided into two buckets? It’s either Japanese or American. I have worked with many Japanese companies that don’t have a clue and many elightened American companies that don’t have to run around saying a bunch of Japanese words to know how to manage. Look at Toyota vs Nissan. Toyota has only gained market share and Nissan has lost their way and are currently out there strongarming their suppliers. Look at Motorola vs. Compaq. Motorola has always treated their employees fairly and trained them to the highest standards, Compaq is a good old boy network on their last gasps (without some Motorola trained intervention ten years ago it would have happened sooner).
    Japna has some really crappy companies and America has some outstanding ones. Don’t buy into an academia view of the world – find out if your professor has ever lived in the real world or just observed from his ivory tower. You are getting fed a line.

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    #72426

    O’Grady
    Participant

    Mark,
    You may want to take a look at http://www.lean.org (the Lean Enterprise Institute).  You will have to sign on as a member, but it is free.
    They too have a forum and they are also discussing various aspects of Lean and the relationship with 6-Sigma.
    These are people who are looking at the subject from both a practical and an academic aspect.

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    #72434

    Mariano
    Participant

     Owen, thanks for hat reference(LEI). I’ve been searching for Lean and 6 sigma relation/implementation.
    I hope not to confuse you Mark. The Lean concept (as it has been used) is not the same as the TPS. The term Lean came from the analysis of the automotive industry on the 80’s (not coined by Womack, by the way). The Machine that Change the World boosted the lean movement in the world. The Lean movement use TPS as a base line, but the TPS by it self is Toyota’s cultural way of doing business. Whom ever tries to copy Toyota’s system will fail. They have evolved their system over 80 years and it keeps changing. All the companies, I’ve known, take the best of Lean and will adapt it to their own environment. The bottom line is the elimination of waste. So the term “fake” migt be used, when the intention is just to use a buzz for marketing.
    There are a lot of companies (out side of Japan) that are doing a great job. And I will agree that you do not need to call it lean or use Japanese words, just understand the concept. Some of these companies (Wiremold the one came up to my mind) have empowered the people closer to the value added operations and have changed their compensation scheme to reflect their values. Most of the companies I know, though, have not change their wage structure (culture, fear, competitive strategy?). It’s hard to eliminate years of a certain management style and beliefs. Also remember that the Street analysts have some paradigms that will be hard to eliminate (lay offs are good..).
    Now, where I need clarification is 6 sigma and Lean. Some people say that are complement others that one is part of the other. Any thoughts?
     

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    #72436

    Annonymous
    Participant

    If a company has relatively stable business levels, they will need to replace people who leave due to retirement/attrition and the normal “moving on” that people do. If they are also successful in growing the business, they will need to add employees to handle the growth. Either way, there should, unless seniority is over-valued in the organizations’ culture, be an adequate supply of new people with new ideas. You can also retrain / re-energize your experienced people by having some substantial fraction (10%? 15%?) take a “step sideways” to a related job with different details every couple of years. When Saturn was being organized mostly from within GM, they never assigned anyone to a job they had already had, but they didn’t throw their new people into something they knew nothing about, either. I’m strongly for “developing the existing talent”. Healthy organizations have moderate turnover, and so take steps to create movement / broadening to keep people fresh and stretched-out. That said, I don’t think “Neutron Jack” Welch got that nickname for nothing. Maybe it was essential to recover from an unhealthy culture he inherited. But he sure was not obviously trying any alternatives to massive layoffs in many, many sectors.

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    #72438

    melvin
    Participant

    Mariano,
    As a certified BB who spends much time in Lean Events, I favor the school that says Lean and Six Sigma are complementary.   
    Lean’s goal is process waste reduction, whereas Six Sigma’s goal is to reduce process variation.  These can be related problems, but they typically stem from individual root causes. 
    A surgical analogy would be that Six Sigma is like a scapel, and Lean is like a hack saw.  The decision of which tool best fits the ailment is based solely on correctly identifying the problem in need of fixing.  Sometimes both tools may be necessary, in those cases it’s usually best to apply the hack saw first, and finish up with the scapel.
    Bob

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    #72446

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Mark,
    I’m not going to get into some turf war over who is light and the way to manufacturing Nirvana. I certainly would have to think twice about some professor (spectator) who sits on the sidelines and pontificates about people like Jack Welch. Check his record.
    What Welch did was never masqueraded as Lean (real or fake). If it was anything it was downsizing and the kind thing is he was the first to real do it seriously before the other “I wanna be like Jack” people did the same thing and flooded the labor market. An ex GE person will rarely have trouble finding a job. If you don’t believe it call any head hunter.
    Lean was never meant to be a product. It was how Ohno did business. Six Sigma was never meant to be a product. It was just how we did our job at Motorola. Both fit nicely together. Motorola did it, so did Allied and so did GE. It isn’t new. We deployed it at the same time we did Six Sigma in the late 80’s.
    As far as Real versus Fake. First I could give a shit what a spectator thinks. I have been a consultant on most of the large Six Sigma deployments and there have never been two exactly the same. You have to adjust for the company culture. By the same token you do not use the initiatives to cut headcount or you loose support – besides there is very little savings in cutting headcount. Check the labor content of most domestic products. When we write a Six Sigma contract it typically stipulates that there will be no headcount reductions associated with projects.
    Do whatever you need to do to get past this guy and get on with your career. In terms of real lean your professor is engaged in NVA.

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    #72468

    Carlos Castillo
    Participant

    If you manage by always trying to drive waste out you will never have to resort to laying off people.  Most companies ramp up their business by adding people, well guess what happens when they ramp down they layoff people.  Look at Applied Materials classic case.  The ultimate goal of “Real Lean” is to create an organization were the main driving force is to do more with less.  Buying and expensive machine or computer system is always the easy but expensive way out. 

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    #72499

    marcel
    Participant

    Re the ‘fake lean’ mentality; I was at RCA when GE bought and raped it.  You’re right; Neutron Jack would continue to lay off RCA people to show a profit at the end of each quarter-like clockwork.  Ge has an internal clique assn called MMP-manufacturing management program.  They would take college grads-‘hipots’ and put them in different positions for about 6-months and then move them to another position within manufacturing.  It was self-perpetuating fraternity; they would completely hose-up an area and the ME’s would have to fix their problems.  Then these assholes would become managers and the future leaders, sic, of GE, yet they couldn’t lead a horse to water.

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    #72500

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    You know, it’s interesting, because I thought isixsigma.com would have mostly postings geared favorably to GE. In business school, we’re taught the lovey-dovey feelings Jack Welch has for all, and his no-nonsense attitude that is presumably why everyone (employees, customers, suppliers) loves him. Meritocracy, shareholder value, etc., at the cost of inevitable layoffs. Did Jack really augment shareholder value? What about the stakeholders — including all those laid-off employees? Another poster to this thread indicated “it would not be hard for an ex-GE employee to find another job.” I would imagine this was Jack’s reasoning as well. Do you agree?
    I don’t work for GE; I for a mediocre company.
    Mark

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    #72503

    marcel
    Participant

    Jack gets all the credit for 6-sigma; I suppose some would believe that GE invented 6-sigma, sans Larry Bossidy or Motorola being predecessors. 
    Jack has tied 6-sigma initiatives into the bonus scheme at GE and to get ahead at GE one must embrace 6-sigma.  Having said that, compare a GE appliance to a Kenmore or Maytag, etc.  You know the problems that Black and Decker is having with their small appliances; well they purchased that division from GE.  With GE if they’re not #1 or 2 in the market they opt out.
    Should, then, Jack get the credit for polluting the Hudson River also.  Have you discussed this in your class…?
     
     

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    #72539

    Eddie
    Participant

    What a great posting topic!  I reply to an ocassional posting, sometimes in a kidding way but this posting hit some serious points.  I am a past GEer, cut in the late 80’s with 2500 coworkers in Jack Blast of not being number the number 1 or 2 product.  He killed off an original (Thomas Edison) 100 yr old GE plant and a core product to get us.  A direct hit! 
      But anyway, 6S is a program.  Since its a program it needs to be driven by a champion and in most cases its done by a top management person. And it can’t fail, it has the dollar backing, and the mangerial clout to succeed! And that soft savings crap that 6S brings to light is bull, if it can’t be seen on the balance sheet whats the purpose?  And top management will buy into soft savings and funny numbers to show a success…soft savings are funny numbers.  Ask Enron about that.
    Where 6S is a driven program Lean (true Lean) is a culture.  Employees want to take part to make things better.  They believe in 5S, they believe in OEE, they believe in TPM.  They take ownership to maintain and improve the process.  The heart of a true Lean culture is that you don’t lose you job by Lean improvements.  You are reassigned, given training, paint equipment, you becaome an asset like your equipment.  Your company still makes the same profit until they find the additional work your Lean program as made open capacity to fill.  This is True Lean!
    This isn’t so with 6S who’s main purpose it to drive cost out, including Jack Welch’s people.  Why didn’t he find more work to keep help us become more productive.  He threw the towel in and bailed out.  Not a champion in my book, he’s always taken the easy way out and cut jobs. At his level, thats the easy way out.   What’s wrong with working hard to increase sales Jack and not turn one of the largest manufacturer in our country into a large finanical and leasing business?  Read the finanical statements…GE makes more from GE Capital and Leasing than any of its manufacturing source. 
    Nice job Jack!
    My heart is in true HARD LEAN.  Protect your resources, including people.  Then find work to fill what lean has gained you with the same head count!  None of this soft saving crap.

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    #72540

    Opey
    Participant

    You’re certainly getting revenge on Jack by holding a >10 year grudge!  Way to go!

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    #72541

    Eddie
    Participant

    Dear Jack’s Mom,
    I am only stating facts!
    I made out better matter of fact due to Jack’s program when I hit the job market. So I’m not bitter to Jack, I’m only stating he took the easy way out of solving his problem, close bussiness and cut heads.  Whats wrong with regaining market share Mon and driving your competion out of business.  So when Jack closed the doors..he lost; and the competition won!

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    #72686

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Eddie,
    Your apptitude for sarcasm is only surpased by your complete ignorance. You obviously have a polarized view of What ever it was that happened to you. Let’s take a vote on who can or cannot understand why anyone would fire Eddie? My guess is you loose everyone would understand.
    You don’t get SS and your responses show you don’t understand Lean. Do everyone a favor and stop the cyber polution.

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    #73335

    Greg Messler
    Participant

    When we improve a process by lean we
    1. Reduce lead time (i.e. improve response to customer)
    As we have found out, this should benefit the customer by getting them the product at the right time and reduce costs by reducing WIP inventory.
    2. Reduce costs
    We use direct labor reduction to show this cost reduction.  Strangely enough mgt. buys into this justification over all else.  However this model assumes you will not be paying that person any more. (layoff)  In essence the process improvement has lowered morale by removing the people whom were responsible for the improvements! 
    In summary:
    How do we measure the VALUE of reduced Lead Time for customers? $$$
    How can we have continuous improvement if we lay off the people that are doing the improvements? 
    What makes this even more challenging is that the fact remains that economic justification for improvement projects is necessary!  The investment may not always be capital equipment or machinery.  Most often the investment is in training and TIME. 
    How many times have you heard:  “We don’t have the time to do that project (kaizen, 5S, DOE) right now because we are behind on orders!”? 

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    #73343

    TRay
    Member

    I worked for GE and loved it.  (I got an opportunity to start Six Sigma at a smaller company and took it).  Jack Welch has not been discrete about the fact that too many companies waste too many resources dealing with the bottom 10% of the workforce.  Jack calls these folks C players.  no mistake about it, when I was at GE if you were a C player you would be “laid off” within two years if you didnt get back on track!!!  The A players flourished and the B’s worked to be A’s.  I enjoyed it!!
    I am curious how your professor gained so much knowledge about how GE works??  If you get several C players in a room, they will have nothing but negative comments………
     
    TR

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    #73466

    keyes
    Participant

    Lean and Six Sigma both reduce waste.  Six Sigma introduces more advanced tools for us to use.  I focus on Lean for a process that is in POOR shape.  If there is a specific issue I might use Six Sigma tools to obliterate the issue from it’s root.  In general though I don’t really try to use the terms religously to catagorize what I am doing at any certain point.

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    #75983

    Bob Emiliani
    Participant

    Great discussion…. I am the professor that Mark originally referred to, with 15 years work experience in industry (joined academia in 1999). See http://www.rh.edu/~emiliani/ for resume (work experience), courses, publications, etc., and The Center for Lean Business Management http://www.clbm.org/ for further insight into “real lean” vs. “fake lean”.
    Bob Emiliani

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    #85429

    ROSS
    Member

    To get back to the point guys !
    Mark,
    Lean is about the identification and removal of waste by re-engineering your processes, thus improving performance , reducing cost and improving profitability….and if you’re cute about the way in which you deploy your new found agility, increasing competitive advantage which gives longevity to the enterprise.
    Lean is not about downsizing, rightsizing, densifying whatever name you want to put on removing people; that just reduces cost (sometimes not even overhead) and is invariably short term , because it frequently does nothing to improve process performance, and certainly doesn’t create an environment of trust and commitment so often required to generate an improvement culture.
    I have had the great fortune to successfully deploy Lean practice in a number of organisations, and one thing is certain, if there is not an understanding and real commitment from the senior executive, then it will be very difficult to create a lean enterprise and like so  many good intentions, will be seen as a fad,and fail to realise sustainable benefits.
    I based my lean enterprises on theToyota system, my early lean education on Womaks work, my first manufacturing layout on Schonbergers theory of world class manufacturing, my training tools were taken from Peter Hines, and John Bechino and more recently admitted that integrating 6 sigma into my lean toolbox was a wise thing to, because it enabled me to broaden my understanding and gave me the opportunity to educatae black belts about value mapping.
    The answer is to use what ever tools you can to drive out waste, concern yourself more about the principle of waste removal and less about what camp it comes from and don’t get persuaded that lean has anything to do with down sizing. Smart enterprises redeploy any good surplus people to increase capacity, ( direct costs are normally far less that the potential material reduction costs  achieved through reduction of WIP and inventory)
    Maybe I was just lucky, but I never canned anyone as a result of Leaning an enterprise!

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    #96997

    neolean
    Participant

    TRay
    I like the response to the Welch bashers.  In your current company, as well as at GE, how do you assign cost to the intangible waste, such as disorganization.  We have bits and pieces of lean concepts in areas where it makes sense.  Our problem is we would like to take 5S further, but pure financial justification is our hurdle.  Do you have a way to justify it to bottom line dollars, or do you do it just because you know it reaps benefits of moral, productivity, safety, quality, etc.
    Neo

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    #97414

    TRay
    Member

    First of all I am not sure what kind of financial burden a simple 5S program will instill. 
    The cost that you may be talking about might be seen in training and an initial cleanup.  This may take your workers away from production for a couple hours at most. 
    If you Sort out stuff you don’t need, Simplify thier work stations and bring components and materials to their fingertips (point of use). You will see immediate productivity improvements.  If you then sweep consistently, looking for further improvements and followup with Schedules and Sustaining then you will EASILY pay for the half day that may be required.
    ALSO…don’t forget to include Visual Controls in your 5S plans.  Productions reporting, problem identification and training matrix will all add directly to your bottom line.
    also remember that you set the bar for expectations!  You will never get excellence and world class if you set the tone of mediocrity. (if you go about it half-ass then you will get half-ass results!)
    Tom

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    #97417

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Neo,
    You are responding to a post that is 2 years old.

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    #97437

    neolean
    Participant

    What’s your point?  I don’t think the age of the message has much bearing.  You might wonder why someone is looking for 5S ideas in 2004.  Actually, 5S has been pursued here over the years here in a number of campaigns.  It has recently regained some attention.  I got to that thread through a search for a specific topic and thought the dialogue was interesting.  Looking for some perspective that’s all.
    Neo 

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    #97442

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    The point is there is a pretty low probability this person will respond.

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    #97443

    me
    Participant

    Hey Loser – check Jack’s track record out sometime.  You don’t stay in a business that doesn’t generate value for shareholders.  That’s what it’s all about.  Unfortunalley, that means job cut’s.  Go check on the state of old legacy steel companies (Bethlehem, LTV) to see that reality play out.

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    #121105

    Mark G
    Participant

    Amen to that about Dell and “lean”. The supply chain example you mention is true. Internally, Dell might have low inventory and fast product flow, but they’re not “lean” in terms of TPS and how they manage and/or treat employees.

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    #121111

    Karel
    Participant

    I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said;
     “those who can, do: those who can’t, teach”
    So I would be inclined to go with the CEOs than a Prof on the running of a real/fake Lean organisation.
    Leadership is about action not position.
    So the likes of Welchy etal have had to take the decisions that need to be taken. Something to bear in mind when the data takes you these difficult areas. How often have we had to sit with the Unions and say “it is better to lose say 20% of the staff, than all the staff”

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    #121133

    Dayton
    Member

    Karel,
     
    I’m not trying to be argumentative, but George Bernard Shaw possibly wasn’t the best judge of that.   Sure he could tell a good tale and was entertaining enough to win the Nobel Prize for literature, but he was after all a product of his environment and times.  He was self-taught and didn’t have the benefit of university classes and exposure to great minds of academia in his earlier formative years.
     
    If he’d have had advanced educational opportunities like many in this forum have had he might have risen himself through the professorial ranks and sang a completely different tune – one of promoting the virtue and proficiency of the academician.  
     
    Now George Bernard Shaw was also more than a bit of a rebel being an outspoken proponent of socialism – he was a thinker, socialist, and challenging literati.   
     
    Folks, I’m thinking had he had a boat ticket, a reasonable GPA, remained true to his socialist roots, and then given academia a chance – he’d have been a Berkeley guy and BTDT would have been making jokes about his prolific and convoluted prose.  
     
    One of George Bernard Shaw’s (and we’d have called him Bernie or The Bern) famous quotes would have been, “Those who think they can do, might or might not, but those that can teach, will, because who wouldn’t?”   Sure he’d have wound up a much lesser luminary but he’d have had excellent parking, worn early version tie-dye T-shirts and his hair anyway it pleased him, and would have wound up chairing the English Literature program (in all likelihood).    
     Vinny

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    #121138

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Vinny,
    That was truely inspiring but I’m sticking with Karel (even though he responding to a guy who was responding to a 3 year old post – guilt by association).
    If I have to invest my money in a stock and I am choosing between one run by Jack Welch (who holds a PhD) and a company run by some academic who is trying to make a name for himself from “fake lean” – I’m banking on Welch. Hell I did bank on Welch and never lost a dime. That is a lot better than the snsitive people down in Houston (North not my part of town) running Compaq.
    In the words of Woody Harelson “I would put my mouth were the money was.”
    Regards

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    #121141

    Dayton
    Member

    Mike,
     
    I agree with you and I like Jack and also would bet on Jack.  I even like Woody’s aphorism, and would only respond that they tell you to pick up the check but they don’t let you order from the menu. 
     
    But then only dead salmon float with the current, and after all arrogance is the price you pay for being superior. 
     
    We also can’t fail to consider rationalization is a lack of will masquerading as thought, and the paper house of rationalization is then blown away by the hurricane of plausibility.  So, while I fundamentally agree with you we need to step furtively into the territory of the inauthentic.  
     
    But all of that notwithstanding George Bernard Shaw would still have made a good Berkeley guy and would have articulated a different diffident path had he been one.
     Vinny

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    #121170

    Savage
    Participant

    There is a difference between Lean and Mean.  Mean (in my opinion) is what a lot of the US auto guys do.  They squeeze and squeeze and lose and lose.  They are REALLY starting to feel the effects of these philosophies now.  
    Having worked for GE i agree with Stan 100%.  GE was so gigantic that there were plenty of righteous layoffs.  Most of the layoffs and closings were more a result of Welch’s hard-line “Differentiation” policy.  This policy is frowned upon by many, but in my time there i found it very affective and there is no arguing the profitable result.  During my GE career the only people I saw that were “fearful” were those that weren’t getting it done.  Don’t mistake a solid business strategy as “cost cutting for the sake of share holders”.  Of course it is meant to sweeten the bottom line but it’s meant to do it forever, not only for the second quarter earnings report.  It’s a strategy of longevity/profitability.  I could not lump Welch into the category that your professor does. 
    My MBA professor contends that “real lean” employs a high respect for employees as stakeholders, and emphasizes a stakeholder focus, rather than a shareholder focus.
    Yeah, sort of.  More like they emphasize stakeholder focus BECAUSE it helps the shareholders focus….on their profits!  Remember; the goal is to make money.  They are lean because it makes money not because they love their employees.  I believe that good lean companies do value their employees and take steps to minimize pain to the employee but let’s be clear; they do it because it’s profitable. Your professor is making it sound like we are in the business to make happy employees.  We want happy/good employees but it is not our primary business function. 
    I wish more C levels could understand that Lean isn’t “reduce headcount”.  Every time I start a basic lean training session I ask for the people to give me some examples of what lean is.  Without failure “reduction in labor” is always mentioned in some format.  It’s one of the biggest fears.  Lean is about so much more than headcount.
    Your class sounds interesting.  I’m glad to see that you are asking others instead of just blindly following the lead of your teacher.  I wish more people could think on their own like that.
    Matt 
     

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    #121172

    GM
    Participant

    yarmot

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    #121186

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Vinny,
    Uh, yea I agree with what you said……….
    Actually I am willing to be a dead salmon in some areas and I will think a little in others. Betting on Jack was a no brainer. The analysts loved him, GE made their number, ca-ching winner to the guy in the wrap around sunglasses.
    The probability that you and I will have the knowledge to jump into the market with enough knowledge to turn it upside down is virtually nil. So whi not bet on the guy that does.
    Just when you start to toy with the idea of an advanced degree you see a post like this and you have to wonder “How can a professor be so self absorbed that they actually believe they have some level of knowledge that has more practical value than a Jack Welch?”
    Any way, I made my share of money on GE stock and all I can do is tip my hat and say “Thank you Mr. Wech.”
    I’ve never been to Berkeley. Is that an acredited school?
    Regards,
     

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    #121192

    Dayton
    Member

    Mike,
     
    Also.. whew.  
     
    This expanded exponentially beyond my statement that George Bernard Shaw was not necessarily in the best position to have said what he said.   I also didn’t say that I didn’t agree with George.   I said he was a bit myopic in his perspective because of his upbringing. 
     
    What I said about George had no bearing on who or what experience and skill sets contribute the most to business I was talking about George’s lack of walking both paths and then providing a truly experiential generalization.   I agree that there are winners and losers and drivers and slackards and that has not necessarily a great deal to do with academic success or endeavors.  
     
    On the other hand there are some very intelligent and proficient teachers who I wouldn’t discount because they chose that path of contribution versus slogging away in industry and there are also many in industry that couldn’t fill or pour from a boot.    
     
    But also centering on Jack, as your example is not necessarily the best demonstration that academia is not a solid contributory path.   I’d have used Bill Gates and Michael Dell as examples of intelligent, successful, driving doers in industry that also happened to be college dropouts.    Jack really was the Renaissance man – all things to all people, an accomplished scholar and captain of industry.
     
    When you say:
     
    Just when you start to toy with the idea of an advanced degree you see a post like this and you have to wonder, “How can a professor be so self absorbed that they actually believe they have some level of knowledge that has more practical value than a Jack Welch?”
     
    Where’d that come from?  Not anything I said.   I just think George was a smart-alecky generalizer that gave anyone aborting the educational process something to wave in justification of his or her choice.   Besides, I’m pretty self-absorbed but not a professor and not delusional to the point of thinking I possess the practical knowledge of Jack.   But on the other hand, I am real smart.
     Vinny

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    #121196

    Savage
    Participant

    I believe he was referring to the original post and his comment was aimed at the proffessor that was bagging on Welch and others.
    but i’m usually wrong ..so.
    Matt

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    #121197

    Savage
    Participant

    I meant that this particulat comment was aimed at the professor in the orignal post. 
     
    Just when you start to toy with the idea of an advanced degree you see a post like this and you have to wonder, “How can a professor be so self absorbed that they actually believe they have some level of knowledge that has more practical value than a Jack Welch?”

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    #121198

    Dayton
    Member

    Matt,
     
    That was probably the case.   Actually being rather self-absorbed I was overly sensitive and jumped to the conclusion I was the self-absorbed little academic peon he was referring to.  
     
    Mike being an ASU grad, advanced Six Sigma deployment leader and rugged ex-Marine kinds of lifts you off the floor and looks you in the eye to get your attention and I just started squealing like a stuck little pig.   Sort of reminded me of the river travel movie a few years ago with the dueling banjos.     
     
    Vinny

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    #121214

    billybob
    Participant

    Hello,
     
    Is this Eddie Green or Eddie Gauthier….either could have written this? 
    Later,
    Billybob

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    #121215

    billybob
    Participant

    damn,.,.I need to look at posts a little harder..who the heck put this old potato back into the oven to be warmed up again?
    Sorry,
    Billybob

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    #121216

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    You are correct it was the original post.
    The labeling of Real vs Fake insinuates some measurement scale that gives him devine knowlege.

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    #121217

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Vinny,
    I was refering to the original post.
    I had a guy explain to me once that every person views life as a play and they are the star of that play. As odd as it sounds it seems to help understand the way some people are seeing the world. It also makes us all a little self absorbed.
    To have a professor decide that he can label real vs fake is going a little beyond self absorbed particularly when he is making reference to Welch. I am not much for hero worship but when you look at the sustainability he demonstrated it is a little idiotic to decide to take on that record and have any credibility.
    Without a doubt you are smart. We are all smart. This professors commenta aren’t about smart. It is about have a job preparing people to take a place in the business world and this guy was ignoring that responsibility to try and play the part of the business bohemian.
    Just my opinion.
    Regards

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    #121218

    Savage
    Participant

    I had a guy explain to me once that every person views life as a play and they are the star of that play. As odd as it sounds it seems to help understand the way some people are seeing the world. It also makes us all a little self absorbed.
    I think i shall never forget this.  What a perfect explanation.
    thanks for sharing.
    Matt

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    #121220

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Matt,
    Your welcome.
    I have found it useful particularly when I am listening to banjo music and feel like picking up some prof by the bow tie/tie-dye shirt depending on what university he is from.
    Regards

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    #121222

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Billybob,
    We all got pulled into this antique. The intersting part is looking at some of the old posts and seeing who has been around for a while.
    Regards

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    #121226

    Karel
    Participant

    Ok lads
    apology for opening up an old message.
    however no harm done as it appeared to stimulate a neat set of responses?
    “Let sleeping dogs lie” and Vinny I wont quote who said it (may have been some cat though)
     

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    #121232

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    karel, Vinny and Matt,
    Somehow I always get myself into these academia vs pragmatic discussions and I don’t seem to convey this stuff very well. A couple years ago I answered some post and it seemed to play well so I will try it again.
    My favorite scene in the movie “Good Will Hunting” or at least one of them is when Robin Williams and Mat Damon get into this discussion about all the stuff Will Hunting believes he knows but is actually just reading. Robin Williams tells him that he has read stuff about the Cistine Chapel but then asks him, since he has not been there, if he knows what it smells like,……. This thing with the professor is like a DOE and understanding if you have a narrow inference band or a wide inference band. The guy doesn’t understand his bandwidth.
    I spent a year working for Gary Reiner, GE’s CIO, during the original rollout od Six Sigma in 1996. I have been on the Executive Floor in Conneticutt. Does that mean I can tell people I understand what it is like to be a GE executive? Not for a minute. Why in the world would even the best professor in the world feel justified in questioning Jack Welch to the level of real vs fake? As part of his leadership team you would but as a spectator watching the game from your seat in some university? How arrogant can this guy be. Welch wasn’t a one hit wonder. He did this year after year as did Bossidy, Galvin, etc.
    Ok, my turn for a quote. I do quotes because I can’t tell were the break point is between the thing that Vinny was doing and a quote (but I am a smart guy and I will figure it out). Unfortunately this isn’t by a Texan just another smart guy: “When you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you can learn in no other way.” Mark Twain. Score one for the pragmatists.
    Just to head off the onslaught of indignant professors or whatever I do appreciate the value of education – consider the business I am in. The likelyhood of some guy landing on Einstein’s stuff (not the bagels) by chance is nil. I even have a picute of this guy, Einstein (a gift from my sister), on my office wall and the quote is “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” but then that is easy to say when you are Albert Einstein. That is one for the academics and another one for the pragmatists.
    I’ll wrap up this extremely long rambling diatribe with something from Plato (another quote): “That man is wisest who has realized that in truth his wisdom is worth nothing.” No the Pragmatists and the academics are tied at zero because the really smart old guy from Greece says it is all irrelevant.
    Just my opinion.
    Regards

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    #121236

    Dayton
    Member

    Mike,
     
    Well done, especially for a pragmatist.  As much as I enjoy thinking about things, picking at things, stirring the pot, egging on controversy, and throwing in quasi-related semi-academic theorems to see what sticks, who takes offense and what they can do with it if they are offended, that posting needs to stay intact and be reposted occasionally.
     
    With the possible exception of your responses to the topic of 360-degree feedbacks I’d say that you live this aphoristically crafted definition:
     
    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”  Aristotle
     
    My opinion.   Thanks for your time and thoughts.
     Vinny

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    #121306

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Vinny,
    It is always a pleasure to get in one of these exchanges with you. I enjoy your humor and I do enjoy being challenged (no picking me up by my bow tie).
    Regards

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    #160582

    Rick Corcoran
    Member

    If employees are made redundant due to work rebalancing the ideal situation would be that due to your improvements you are now more competitive with a higher quality and lower cost that can be passed on to the Customer, thus increasing your market (like Toyota) requiring you to build more capacity (like Toyota) in which you can transfer your displaced employee’s.
    Fake Lean to me is laying off groups of folks without making process improvements and doubling the work (both value added and non value added) onto the remaining workforce.  Both scenarios show bottom line improvements in labor.  One is real improvement / the other fake.

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