Another Not-So-Value-Added Article

Rick Bohan

A few weeks ago, I linked to an article that was…well, just bad.

Today’s not-so-value-added article isn’t as bad.  In fact, there’s, maybe, a small grain of truth in it.  But…overall, it misses the point in a way that definitely doesn’t add value and might even do harm.

Before we get to the article, let me ask you…is it possible to be too regimented about eating healthy and getting exercise?  My guess is your answer is something like, “I suppose so, but too much devotion to health and well-being isn’t a problem in this country.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.”  And that’s my answer to Don’t Get Stuck on Methodology.  Author Shawn Casemore tells us:  “As lean is based in methodology, there are dozens of instructors and practitioners who are absolutely stuck on following a six-step process for this or a 10-step process for that.”

Maybe so, but I haven’t run into many managers who are remotely “stuck” on following a six-step or ten-step process.

He goes on to claim, “I’ve met dozens of plant managers absolutely obsessed with 5S.”

I’ll take his word for it.  For my part, I’d like to meet them.

Here’s my point: I don’t think it does much good to spread the notion that managers can be too energetic about implementing lean methods.  Is it possible?  Sure, but that’s not a problem across American industry right now.  We aren’t suffering from a surfeit of orderly, smooth, safe workflows that produce high quality products and customer satisfaction.   I think Shawn’s message serves more to enable managers who aren’t doing much with respect to continual improvement that it does to provide effective guidance to sincere managers.

My advice:  Don’t worry about “too much” lean or continual improvement.  If you’re doing a good job of implementing your plans and monitoring your results, that “problem” will take care of itself.


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