2009 will be the year of lean

2009 will be the year of lean

John Shook at Lean Enterprise Institute says lean is “just what the doctor ordered” for 2009 and is hoping for a better year.

Brian Buck expects creativity and innovation to arrive on the scene.

Jon Miller talks about how Tom Vilsack might bring lean to the federal level (hooray!).

Kevin Meyer suggests Toyota could use some of its lean knowledge to energize the rest of the automotive industry.

In the lean software arena, “Mastering the Recession with Lean, Agile, and Scrum.”

And have you seen all the lean people that are now on Twitter?  Brian Buck and I surmised it must be some kind of New Year’s resolution.  Regardless the cause, there’s any obvious effort to get the word out about the value of lean, and Twitter is another tool to spread the word.  Here are the lean tweeps I’m currently following (I’m sure there are more): @brianbuck, @evanjmiller, @GembaPantaRei, @gerrykirk, @giladl, @GotBoondoggle, @leanblog, @lssacademy, @matthewemay, @mglombard, @Paulflevy, @RalfLippold, @Rwilliard, @shmula, @superfactory, UPDATE: @lizguthridge

If you aren’t creating value for customers…if you aren’t eliminating waste…if you aren’t respecting your people, this won’t be your year.  This is true now more than ever, as consumers and business get more picky about where they’re going to put their resources, and as the personal savings rate has actually gone up (this is a good thing since it had gone negative, but indicates spending will be tighter!).

Don’t think lean is drawing attention?  Check out the search terms people are using lately.  This is drawn from the Google Keyword Search Tool.  I just checked out “lean manufacturing” as an example.  In the month of December, there was an 18% increase in the interest in the term “lean manufacturing” over the average of the previous 12 months (the totals of the entire result set were 109,459 for December versus 92,808 for the average).

lean_keyword

And this is just the term “lean manufacturing”.  What about all of the other arenas like healthcare, software, and others?  Even just the term “lean” has a WHOPPING 50% increase (2,740,000 for December versus 1,830,000 prior 12-month average).  Granted, “lean” in this case might include people looking to improve their physical fitness, but regardless this is a huge jump.

Where are people conducting these searches?  For that info, check out this cool tool.  It gives you a “heat map” of where these searches are being conducted (US data only).

state_map

Principles that started in manufacturing have spread to so many different arenas.  And why not?  Look at how Tom and Mary Poppendieck describe the principles within software development:

The seven principles of Lean Software development are:

  • Respect people
  • Eliminate waste
  • Defer commitment
  • Create knowledge
  • Deliver fast
  • Build quality in
  • Optimize the whole

Sound familiar?  Manufacturing, healthcare, education, services, construction, government, and software development have all found how valuable these principles are.  Granted the tools and practices probably look different from one to the next, but the principles are constant.

(side note…I’m now going to use the phrase “deferring commitment” instead of “procrastinating”…it sounds a lot better! 🙂 )

Maybe we should organize a big “lean-fest” or lean tweetup to exchange ideas across industries and share best (or better, as some are now saying) practices (maybe the Lean Global Network is already doing this?).  A nice, central-US location might be nice.  Say…Pella, Iowa (street view from Google Maps)?

By |2009-01-09T16:01:49+00:00January 9th, 2009|Healthcare, Information Management, Manufacturing, People|1 Comment