TBM Consulting Group says its annual survey shows lean culture gaining ground, but I’m a bit skeptical as to what that really means.
The company just released the results of its fourth annual multi-national “Productivity Survey,” conducted in the first half of 2006 in conjunction with The Manufacturer magazine. The survey polled 2,288 executives from mid-sized to large manufacturers in the
(This is the first of two postings I’m writing about the survey. The next will focus on what the survey says is a gap in leadership skills.)
The manufacturers were asked to specify the productivity or quality improvement program currently being used. The results:
Lean 78% 66% 20% 15% 52%
ISO Certification 41% 58% 59% 25% 48%
Kaizen 63% 42% 26% 15% 71%
I’m a bit confused by the differences between the programs. I always thought kaizen was part of lean. But hey, what do I know?
The manufacturers were also asked to rank the top sources of improved productivity. The results:
Improvement (lean) 56% 35% 26% 21% 36%
Process Improvement 18% 19% 30% 25% 36%
Technology 6% 8% 4% 11% 13%
Again, the clear differences between those first two categories elude me.
The survey also said the vast majority of manufacturers in all five countries reported productivity improvements.
Anand Sharma, CEO of TBM, said in a news release, “The data suggests that the Lean culture is gaining more mainstream acceptance worldwide as a driver of productivity… As more and more of these companies gain visibility for their growth, the lean architecture is increasingly being adopted in the major manufacturing countries of the world.”
Well, maybe so. But I suggest you take another look at the research from Aberdeen Group I previously described, regarding The Low Rates of Lean Implementation. According to that research, relatively few manufacturers (at least in the
So what conclusion can be drawn here? The most optimistic interpretation is that more companies have only recently jumped on the lean bandwagon, and the best improvements in productivity are yet to come. A more cynical analysis would be that more companies are saying they are embracing lean, but aren’t really doing it.
What’s your take on this? Are you an optimist or a cynic? I look forward to your comments.