The other day, I walked into my teenage son’s martial arts training academy – or “dojo” – carrying a copy of the classic book Lean Thinking in my hand. I intended to re-read a section or two while he was practicing. One of the other parents, a business person, saw the titled and politely asked, “Oh, are you on a diet?” Sometimes, those of us in Supply Chain Management speak a unique and different language, even if it is English. It was a conversation starter, to be sure.
Have you ever wondered what the heck is this animal called “Lean?” I mean, really, what is Lean?
Many SCM practitioners hear the term frequently, and it is so ubiquitous that if we don’t really understand it, we might be afraid to ask that simple question. After all, we don’t want to seem like dunces in front of our peers.
But many of us have never had any real cause to interact with Lean in our SCM careers, perhaps working under the misconception that it is a term used in manufacturing and has little application to service industries. So why would some of us bother to read the reams of literature on the subject to get caught up? We’d rather be golfing.
I have sat in a lot of classrooms where some pretty smart people have been too shy to ask simple questions (myself included!), and consequently they develop their own sketchy biases and misconceptions about the subject matter. The danger is that these well-meaning folk might carry their own definition of …”whatever”…forward into the world of business, making some serious mistakes in the process. If we speak a unique dialect among ourselves, at least we should be able to agree in a general sense what Lean means in the context of SCM.
And so, I make a point to offer videos I have uncovered in my travels that explain such concepts concisely and accurately, so that you can learn important stuff protected by the cloak of anonymity.
Here is a good little video, lasting about 14 minutes, that describes Lean very well. It might not be the second coming of Casablanca, but it is well produced, and does a good job of getting the message across in understandable language.
It presents five learning objectives:
- Why Lean?
- What Lean is, and is not
- A History of Lean
- Tools of Lean
- Philosophies of Lean
The Gemba Academy is a well-recognized authoritative provider of good quality training, with a focus on Continuous Improvement and Lean Thinking. You can access there web site by clicking here...
I hope that you enjoy the experience, and that the video provides some useful fundamental information.
Your comments are welcome.
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