Lean Frontiers: Are they differences in getting middle management on board from getting executive management support?
Are there differences in getting middle management from executive management on board for 1) developing the lean enterprise and 2) direct engagement on their part? What are the differences, if any?
Posted on May 9, 2015
Archives by Tag 'IT'
Michael Balle

Michael Ballé: IT needs to turn its purpose on its head first

By Michael Balle, co-author of The Gold Mine and The Lean Manager - Last updated: Friday, September 6, 2013
True, I can’t think of any lean transformation I’ve witnessed firsthand where IT is part of the solution, not part of the problem – apart from a few specific examples I’ll address further on. I’ve been wondering about that, and if we take a careful step back, there is a possible structural reason for this. To my mind, the deep value change that lean thinking involves is the following. Senior managers believe their job is to 1) set strategy or dictate policy, 2) organize the business to realize this strategy and 3) implement the necessary systems to support this organization. Typically, ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: Start witht he IT implications of a model line, and get expert coaching

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Monday, August 5, 2013
My first reaction is that if this is a new lean effort, e.g., less then 2 years into it, specific action by IT can easily do more harm then good. This happens when the core processes have not been well defined, and therefore their information needs are not well defined, and IT starts developing "lean software" that is a distraction and not what the value-added workers need. For example, IT jumps in to develop an electronic kanban system when the company does not have the discipline or understanding to run even a basic manual kanban system. This ...

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Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham: Are Lean IT and Agile Compatible?

By Jean Cunningham, - Last updated: Monday, November 22, 2010
Lean IT results from the application of lean principles to information systems and the IT function. Changes made to IT are directly related to changes made and learnings discovered while converting manufacturing to the Toyota Production System or “lean”. Via an evolutionary spiral that began in earnest in the early 90’s, the elimination of waste in all processes at the shop floor yielded huge improvements in lead time and quality. This was accomplished through the use of continuous improvement thinking by all employees who were trained in lean principles and adopted a lean attitude. Then, over the past decade, this ...

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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: How Can Standoffs Between Lean & IT be Avoided?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Saturday, September 11, 2010
Question:  How can ugly standoffs between lean and IT be changed, and what would be the first steps in such a journey? If IT is about data and standardizing and Lean is about facts (go and see) and continuous improvement, then collisions between IT and lean are predestined. But, you know, collisions aren’t necessarily bad, as long as they are viewed as challenges. A lot of things we take for granted today arose out of problem solving triggered by seemingly unsurmountable dilemmas and obstacles. I think the answer is simple, but not easy... everyone in the organization works within a context, a ...

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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: the right IT system will bring us closer to one piece flow and support kaizen

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Friday, September 3, 2010
If we think of the material and information flow diagram then IT is dealing with the information flow.  When we physically transform a process by moving things around we are acting on the material flow. When we transform the information presented to help make decisions we are dealing with IT whether it is in the form of an empty space on the floor, a card, or something from a computer. The concept of value stream mapping is to design the material and information flow intentionally based on defined principles to achieve a clear business purpose.  One principle isthat one piece flow is the ideal.  Another is ...

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Godefroy Beauvallet

Godefroy Beauvallet: Is there a “Lean Way” to look at one firm’s IT? Can IT be made to change towards lean? What would be the first steps in such a journey?

By Godefroy Beauvallet, - Last updated: Friday, September 3, 2010
Lean is about creating a performance mindset, being aware of problems, and having problems solved locally as a way to develop people through problem-solving and fostering a "kaizen spirit". If one frames Lean that way, it seems hardly possible to practice it in any modern firm without getting across information technology questions: most of the work load nowadays is achieved using information systems (from emails to forms-filling); we use IT to report data, calculate indicators and analyze performance; alerts are often generated by sensors, sent through networks and treated by computers; amounts of data that can be used to analyze problems ...

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