Some people think that lean is all about using tools. These people – they may be consultants, or they may be your own managers – may help you achieve some quick improvements that don’t last or prove to be less than hoped for.
We’d like to hear about your experience.
We asked author John Seddon to comment on this. His book, Freedom from Command and Control: Rethinking Management for Lean Service (Productivity Press, 2005), features a detailed criticism of tools and tool heads. His response:
“I am dismayed at how easily managers are duped into believing this lean thing is a ‘tools’ thing. Even the lean ‘gurus’ tell us Ohno insisted we should never codify method (write tools) but then they go ahead and do just that. Now, perhaps realizing the tools approach was flawed, the gurus are describing the tools thing as an ‘age’ and imploring us to go beyond the ‘tools age.’ They just don’t get it – Lean is a change-the-system thing, not a tools thing. The tool heads will ensure people miss an important opportunity – they will think they have ‘done lean’ if they have ‘done the tools’ and the tragedy is they won’t even have started. Watch out for tools from fools.”
Have you run into problems with tool heads? What happened? What did you do about it?
Or has a tools approach worked well in your organization? What made it successful?
Log into the blog and post a comment with your story. Let’s use the blog to help each other by sharing these experiences.