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 'Rob'
Mike Rother

Rob Austin: When Is Lean Too Lean?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Thursday, April 22, 2010
"Lean" sounds efficient, and I like that. But I worry that it also sounds like "no backup inventory" or "no backup system." I've heard stories about what sound like too-lean operations disastrously disrupted when unexpected problems caused severe delays and there were no backups.  So what is the relationship between lean and robustness in the face of unexpected problems? Can a lean system also be resilient?
Mike Rother

Rob Austin: What advice can lean offer about breaking the dysfunctional cycle of “fire fighting”? How do you shift the focus from urgent rework to systematic improvement?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Thursday, February 25, 2010
I know of a service delivery organization plagued by administrative difficulties. Many service requests are mishandled. People within the organization who handle things effectively become known, and then everyone goes to them for help, which causes them to become overwhelmed; usually they either burnout and quit (or move to another job), or they become ineffective as a result of being overwhelmed. The reward for doing good work is that you get buried by an overwhelming volume of additional service requests. One problem this organization has is that its people don't have a habit of making problems visible. When you point out a ...

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Mike Rother

Rob Austin: Can lean help operational managers realize specific targets on schedule?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Wednesday, January 6, 2010
As a financial manager, what I'd really like from operational managers is a commitment to realizing specific targets--cost reduction, productivity improvement, whatever--on a schedule. Then I want to see people work to deliver those results on schedule.  Can lean help me get that?
Mike Rother

Rob Austin: how do we assuage fear of cost-cutting in times of crisis?

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Sunday, December 6, 2009
As exciting as the lean ideas are, there's a concern a person might have that starts with the name: Lean.  As in "lean and mean" or as in "cut your staff by half to make your operations leaner." How do you keep lean initiatives from being bushwhacked by the cost cutting crowd, especially in today's down economy? This is not an abstract worry. I've seen some so-called "lean" initiatives that looked suspiciously like cost cutting to get an organization ready for sale or spin off. How do you keep a program called "lean" from being (or perhaps becoming, step by step, ...

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