ABOUT LEAN DYNAMICS
WHAT IS LEAN DYNAMICS?
Lean dynamics is a different way of thinking and operating that lets companies navigate today’s uncertain conditions.
The good news is that all of the knowledge and skills you gained with lean and lean six sigma still apply — lean dynamics uses
the same techniques, but with a fundamentally different focus.
Here’s the difference:
Lean and Lean Six Sigma seek to “lean” out operations, “cutting the fat” by removing waste wherever it's found.
Lean dynamics instead takes deliberate actions that dampen the impact of disruptive conditions to keep this waste and its costs from accumulating in the first place.
Whereas lean is about doing more with less, lean dynamics is about sustaining greater value in good times and in bad.
THE ROOTS OF LEAN DYNAMICS
An Evolution from Ford to Toyota
It is important to understand that the concept of lean dynamics did not spring fully-developed from a void. It is the
result of more than a century of management theory and practice, beginning all the way back with Henry Ford's
first demonstration of mass production.
Lean practitioners go to great pains to point out what's wrong with mass production, but history shows that is a
powerful management approach with tremendous examples of success. For instance, it is widely heralded as
having a central role in the victory over Germany and Japan in World War II. With it, GM rose to dominance in the
global automotive industry. It continues today to be used by companies around the world.
What makes the "lean" system of management more powerful is not necessarily the direct cost savings from
eliminating wastes, as is so often reasoned. Instead, these gains are critical to overcoming mass production's.
distinct advantage from economies of scale -- making the lean system cost competitive. The real advantage comes
from its ability to dampen the effects of disruptive forces on operations, permitting them to maintain their.
efficiencies and effectiveness in good times and in bad.
Other approaches, such as Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma, helped evolve management thinking on implementing
business improvement. These contributed to the understanding that the real culprit is variation in operations,
causing waste to accumulate. Lean dynamics focuses on addressing this underlying cause of waste, dampening the buildup of operational variation, particularly those caused by the forces of uncertainty and change.
IS "GOING LEAN" DIFFERENT FROM BEING FLEXIBLE?
Is the only reason for going lean to cut costs? This is an
important question raised by the Industry Week article, Small
Manufacturers Need to be Agile, Not Lean. Small businesses (like
many other organizations) are often told that lean is about cutting
out the waste. Yet, as this article points out, driving out excesses is
hardly something new for small companies, particularly today,
since many must already keep costs low in order to compete.
So why bother? Because going lean is about much more than
cutting costs. It’s about shifting from a way of doing business that
does well when conditions remain fairly stable and predictable (the
environment for which traditional management methods were.
developed), to one that is better suited to the kind of constant.
change and uncertainty that today has become the norm. But this.
takes reaching beyond the tools-centric mentality that has become
far too prominent and gaining a deeper understanding of its.
history and intent.
So this article has it right… partly. Cost cutting alone is probably
not enough to motivate many to embark on what they probably
see as a painful journey. Lean is about becoming more agile, as
this article states, but not just for small businesses. Small and large
organizations have demonstrated the dramatic benefits of what.
lean is really intended to achieve (what I call lean dynamics). Their
results show that lean can enable organizations across different.
industries to advance across a range of conditions. With it they
continue to operate smoothly, roll out new innovations, create new
opportunities–and profit during some of the most challenging.
And who would argue that this is important for businesses of all
types, especially in the environment they face today?