Thursday, 7 April 2011

Gemba walks

Gemba Walks by James Womack (Available from Amazon) is an edited and slightly revised collection of his generally excellent Lean e-Letters.

Of particular interest to me is the emphasis that he places on the importance of Purpose. Why are you pursuing Lean? This is an excellent question that stops wild lean activity (e.g. the number of workshops completed) or "Islands of Lean" (Why didn't it make a difference to the customer?). Those that have worked with me on change in Manufacturing and Supply Chain will know that asking why and establishing Purpose is high on my agenda. This was heightened by the work that I have done with McCourts and Roy Sallabank in particular.

A number of clients and others have embarked on Lean transformations without properly answering the question of why and establishing purpose. It takes a brave "belted" expert to ask a VP why are we doing this, but believe me, the largest waste of value is frequently that spent on carrying out a Purposeless Lean programme.

I would recommend Gemba Walks, even if you just read the first few pages!
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