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February 21, 2006

Hi [[firstname]],

Today, we are bombarded with information about lean;
what it is and about what lean tools can do. Still, 
there is very little practical information on how to 
implement lean transformation and lead the change. 

Every company's lean journey starts under different 
circumstances, so there can be no one recipe, no 
"right way." But, to ensure success, there are many 
factors to consider before embarking on your lean 

If you're thinking about going LEAN or are currently 
struggling with a LEAN implementation project, be 
sure to read this week's article. "10-Recommendations 
for Lean Manufacturing Implementation Success.

Have a nice day, and stay connected.

Bill Gaw


Now serving over 11,245 subscribers

Competitive Knowledge for Manufacturing People 



Lean is not a one- or two-quarter commitment. It 
takes one to two years to build the necessary momentum, 
and from there your journey will last forever. Yes, 
tools such as kaizen can provide very quick and 
significant improvement. But, without taking the time 
to implement a program that yields sustainable benefits, 
process improvements gained by lean tools will slowly 
deteriorate back to where you started. Significant and 
sustainable results will occur throughout the entire 
process, but the most profitable returns are realized 
through a two-to-five year plan. 


Don't expect someone to lead the lean charge in his/her 
spare time. You need to assign a dedicated leader or 
team to take on this challenge. It requires daily 
attention from leaders who fully understand the scope 
of the project and who won't get caught up in today's 
distractions. Most cultures are centered around 
solving today's problem, reacting faster and better, 
and getting results today or tomorrow. Stuck in that 
culture, it is hard for leaders to consider a multi-year 
journey – people need to be extracted to focus on a 
different timeline. In addition, these leaders require 
continued support from management throughout the 


Lean is not born from what you see, it is born from 
how you think. Lean is a set of rules and principles, 
not just tools. Tools focus on physical system changes, 
but that is not where the heart of lean beats. The 
entire way of thinking must become embedded in every 
person of your organization. You may fix one problem 
or process with a lean tool today, but if the old 
thinking continues, it will recreate the old problems. 
Only new principles or beliefs change behaviors, not 
systems or tools. Sustainable lean change -- the kind 
that builds momentum -- comes from the mind and heart 
of all employees.


There is a tendency for companies to declare "We've 
done it. We've achieved lean." The truth is, lean is
a constant, never-ending process. You will always 
strive to be lean, but you will never get there, 
because there is always a gap between where you are 
and your ideal state. If you believe that your journey 
has ended, you've failed. Even when you can consider 
yourself a success, do not stop. Success is an 
organization that continues to move forward at such a 
pace that it would be difficult to even try to slow it 
down. Consider Toyota – no matter how much better they 
are than their competition, they continue to find more 
and more opportunities to improve each and every year.


When change is proposed, people often feel threatened. 
Some will think it's because there has been something 
wrong with what they were doing, but most will just be 
uncomfortable with the unknown. So, as your company 
embarks on this journey, you must work to help people 
understand why, what and how. Remove the fears; or 
make NOT moving forward the more fearful choice. Also, 
many people think lean means cutting staff, when in 
reality it's about working smarter to preserve heads 
and even grow the workforce through market growth. 


Managing is maintaining current reality. Leadership 
is moving people towards the ideal state. And you 
can't lead people to where they already are. Lean 
transformation is about leadership. And leadership is 
not a position or rank. Look for people at every level 
, then in order to lead lean, you must be able to teach.


People will need to learn new skills and they will need 
the time to gain them. This means experimenting with 
every process everyday to get it right. There is also 
a financial investment, mostly in training, but also in 
process changes. However, the evidence is clear that 
the payback for this period is in months and not years. 
You can use focused-improvement tools such as kaizen to 
get immediate gains and pay for your investment. The 
potential of difference between lean and non-lean 
companies is not 5-10 percent, it is 100-1000% 
differences in quality, cost, delivery and, of course, 


Taiichi Ohno, one of the fathers of the Toyota 
Production System, said decades ago that "the Toyota 
Production System is not just a production system." 
If you reduced your lead time in manufacturing by 90% 
and can get product out in hours, but order entry 
takes four weeks, then you aren't really moving forward 
in the market. You must attack every corner of the 
business from accounting to human resources to 


A recipe tells you exactly how to do something – the 
amounts, sequence and timing. There is no such recipe 
for lean success since every company starts with a 
different set of ingredients (or factors and 
constraints). However, there is a roadmap. There are 
guide posts along the way that help you determine where 
you are and offer potential solutions to help you get 
to where you want to go. Learn from as many other 
journeys as possible to help understand the roadmap. 


Many people have tried to succeed at lean in the past 
by copying the solutions that Toyota or others have 
found, either through benchmarking or out of a book. 
The problem is, this is like a kid copying off someone 
else's test only to find out they were taking a 
different exam. Your company is unique and will likely 
have some unique problems and constraints – you must 
engrain lean thinking in your organization so you can 
find your own answers.

Never stop collecting the lessons you learn along your 
path to lean. Lean transformation is a long journey 
that will require you to collect experiences and reflect 
upon each and every lesson you learn along the way. 



Manufacturing leaders have a responsibility to educate 
and train their team members. Individuals have a 
responsibility to train themselves. Without continuous 
learning, you will never reach your full growth and 
earning potential.

In order to help MBBP subscribers optimize the 
benefits of their lean manufacturing initiative, I 
extracted a portion of the Kaizen Based Lean 
Manufacturing e-Tutorial and created a cost-effective, 
Lean Manufacturing Training Module.

What Does it Cost?

Much less than you would imagine. In fact, we make the 
training module affordable so that it can fit easily 
within your personal or your company's training budget. 

We want you and your company to hear what Bill has to 
say about lean manufacturing and the best way to do that 
is to make it affordable. 

Take a few minutes and check out the Lean Manufacturing 
Training Module... a $97.00 value for only $58.00... it's 
only available to MBBP subscribers. To review it, go to:



You are welcomed to print and share this bulletin with 
your manufacturing teams, peers and upper management ... 
better yet, have them signup for their own copy at:



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Manufacturing Knowledge you'll not find in the books 
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nor in the Harvard Business School Press

Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard 
ISO 9000:2000 - Strategic Planning - Supply Chain 
Management - MRP Vs Lean Exercises - Kaizen Blitz 
Lean Six Sigma - Value Stream Mapping

All at one Website: http://bbasicsllc.com 


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 Manufacturing Cost Reduction for Winners


Manufacturing leaders have a responsibility to educate and train their team members. Help for developing a self-directed, World Class Manufacturing training program for your people is just a click away:


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Manufacturing Knowledge you’ll not find at offsite 
seminars nor in the books at Amazon.com

Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard 
ISO 9000:2000 - Strategic Planning - Supply Chain 
Management - MRP Vs Lean Exercises - Kaizen Blitz 
Lean Six Sigma - Value Stream Mapping

All at one Website: Good Manufacturing Practices


 Manufacturing Cost Reduction for Winners

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