The world needs to be Lean!
The problem is that it doesn't realise it yet!
Toyota's experience and years of application have taught us that Lean Production is a way of life before being an organisational discipline.
For us, Lean means “developing people to learn the art of doing things well”. This principle is embodied in the two Japanese words “Monozukuri” (the art of doing things well) and “Hitozukuri” (the art of making people grow) as Master Wakamatsu often repeated to us before his passing. In recent years, many managers and consultants have often overlooked the human factor, thinking that the Lean system is just “Monozukuri”, ignoring the fact that it is impossible to perform a task well if it is done unwillingly, in uncomfortable or at worst precarious conditions.
Unfortunately, people often confuse the application of techniques such as Kanban, Heijunka or TPM as the end rather than the means to a radical change of pace in business performance. The parameters improve sustainably when the corporate culture evolves.
Kaizen, which is often loosely translated as “Continuous Improvement” in the genesis of the term means changing to get better.
“Monozukuri” and “Hitozukuri” are the two sides of the same coin. The absence of either makes the efforts of companies to apply the Toyota Production System useless, even harmful, and is probably the real cause of the failure of many Lean Transformation projects.
The production area is the physical place where transformations and changes are usually easier to achieve in the short term and are more immediate to communicate, because they are obvious. The identification of waste through the Ohno Circles, a new layout, a Setup reduced by half or a clean and tidy work environment through a 5S programme are unmistakable signs of a transformation that starts with the “Gemba” (Japanese for the place where value is created) and the more operational staff and then extends to all other company functions with a process of involvement in successive improvement waves.