// No one had to work more hours. No new hires were needed. In other words, UNC Health Care did more with less -- the classic definition of "lean." But wait: Where is the assembly line? Where are the widgets? And where are the across-the-board layoffs? Today, lean initiatives are popping up in health care as well as in research and development (R&D) and other functional areas previously outside of lean's purview. These initiatives are a far cry from reductions in force, rote factory protocols and other cost-cutting tactics traditionally associated with lean.//
I feel like pounding on their heads and say, “Lean is not about reducing work force or reducing inventory”. It’s all about taking the waste out of the system to give the customer the value he expects by involving the people who make the products. Plain and simple!!!
Lean is a management philosophy. It’s not an evil tool to squeeze blood out of your workforce. In fact, it is supposed to make your associates lives better. I don’t pretend to be wiser than the Wharton guys. They are smart people but with a wrong perspective. To be fair, the article does highlight the people part at the end but it’s too late. People who read the article have already formed their opinion by the middle.
The other article is in New York Times about Dell. If you ever think of Dell as a lean manufacturer then we need to have a talk separately. Dell’s strength is its supply chain’s swiftness. What they have accomplished is amazing. My rant is about calling Dell a lean manufacturer.
//Dell’s supply chain had always stood out as one of its important assets. The company kept costs low by limiting its inventory and squeezing suppliers. If prices for components changed, Dell could react more quickly than its competitors, offering customers the latest parts at the lowest cost.//
This is why I say they are not lean. Dell reduces cost by “squeezing supplier”. There goes your first step on death spiral. You squeeze them; they squeeze their supplier and so on until someone decides to cut corners. If and when that happens, we end up like this.
//The problems affecting the Dell computers stemmed from an industry wide encounter with bad capacitors produced by Asian PC component suppliers.//
Everyone wants to become like Toyota but don’t realize how Toyota treats it’s supplier. The relationship should be mutual not parasitic.