Missing Element of Lean – Assembly Magazine article

With its strong focus on waste reduction of processes, lean has been a savior for those who’ve made it out of the great recession.  But what’s next?  I argue the next level of savings will come from adding a product focus to lean’s well-developed process focus.  For the complete Assembly Magazine article (one page), click here.

3 Responses to “Missing Element of Lean – Assembly Magazine article”

  • You captured perfectly the issues and relationships that drive real process efficiency. Twenty years ago, Concurrent Engineering became the overall management method by which engineers of different disciplines were encouraged to share knowledge to improve product quality, performance and cost. Yet, for some reason of human nature, people treat very inclusive practices such as Lean as if they were a silo in themselves. But as you pointed out, the front-end of product design influences the back-end of production and beyond. Thank you for outlining the problem in a language that speaks to line experts and designers.

  • Mick Maguire:

    This is very much akin to what Agile has been doing with software, just that we have only relatively recently been adding lean process focus into the strong product improvement focus. Kind of coming to the same point from the other side.

  • Phil Sallaway:

    Subject: The Missing Element of Lean….

    For the most part I agree with you article in Assembly Magazine April 2011. Being a Marketing Guy and specifically a Product Manager I often wondered why those types of things happened. It impacts sales when the product costs a lot to manufacture, it kills our margins. Of course Marketing and Manufacturing are like Krytonite to super man…….

    What I find interesting is your comment “Product governs process. (Not that it should, it just does)” Being a Marketing Guy, it is all about the “Product” as it is a reflection (or should be a reflection) of what the customer needs and wants. From my point of view it is all about the customer (profitable customers that is). It should also be everyone’s view point as with out paying customers that is no company for us to work for.

    I have taken Agile – Scrum, and Lean Practices classes so I have some understanding of how it should work. I agree with you that current practice is behind the curve. Both design Eng and Manufacturing Eng need to be on the team starting in the very early stages of New Product Development. As a Product Manager I have taken this approach, often times informally, buy seeking out the tribal knowledge and running ideas by the folks who have been there done that, and as a result have avoided many land mines and also over come road blocks. I got much of this from an article I read on Quality Function Design many years ago.

    I agree a more formalized approach is needed. The biggest road block to it is often entrenched attitudes of folks who already “know” and suffer from a disease known as ….. “hardening of the attitudes”.
    Phil Sallaway

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