This is the back story to the book Eliminating Waste in Teaching. For more than 15 years I have been a dedicated student of the history of management. The particular years of interest are 1890 to the early 1930s, a time known as the Progressive Era. It was during this era that a new system of … [Read more...] about The Back Story – Eliminating Waste in Teaching
Fundamentally, what was the development of Toyota's production system about? Why was there a need for it? It was about employees in a small start-up company working to find ways to produce motor vehicles in low volume and at low cost. So what? Well, what that means is TPS was (and is) a lived human … [Read more...] about Fulfillment by Status Quo, Inc.
In Lean management, we speak of the current state, the future state, and the ideal state. But what about the past state? Why isn't the past state also of interest? It should be, because the past informs the present -- the current state -- which in turn determines the probability of achieving desire … [Read more...] about What About the Past State?
Advancing Lean management is a relay race. The first leg is nearing completion. The baton was held by those who brought the Toyota production system (TPS) and Lean to public attention in the late-1970s through the mid-1990s. They ran the first leg well, but this first generation of Lean leaders is … [Read more...] about Passing the Lean Baton
What has been Lean's contribution to business and society over the last 35 years? Has it been great or small? And for whom? I recently read a fabulously informative and beautifully written 1992 doctoral dissertation by Carlos E. Pabon, titled: "Regulating Capitalism: The Taylor Society and … [Read more...] about Management as an Engineering Problem
Corporate financial distress -- the so-called "burning platform" -- has long been cited as the crisis necessary to propel a management team to adopt Lean management. Is it? In my book, Triumph of Classical Management Over Lean Management, I said: "Even Lean’s supposed savior, 'the burning … [Read more...] about Lean and the Burning Platform
We are all aware that precious few Lean transformations fulfill the vision of many Toyota-like managed companies in all industries. For decades, the prevailing wisdom was that better explanations of Lean, from Lean tools to Lean strategy, and more and more examples of Lean success, no matter how … [Read more...] about What’s Holding Lean Back?
I recently posted a version of the graphic below with caption: "Not perfect, but close. It's about right." The response was overwhelmingly positive. A great majority of people recognized it as a unique comparison, one that they had never seen before, and also an accurate comparison that effectively … [Read more...] about Comparing TPS and Lean
Most people who are interested in Toyota's management practice have no interest in the history of progressive management ideas and practices that preceded it. Nor is there much interest in the problems and difficulties faced by those who worked to advance progressive management prior to TPS. I find … [Read more...] about History Matters