Cambridge, MA (PRWEB) March 21, 2014
Lean management leaders from manufacturing, healthcare, and service companies received inspiration as well as practical information at last week’s annual Lean Transformation Summit, sponsored by the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI). Nearly 500 lean practitioners attended the two-day conference in Orlando, FL, focused on the theme “improve the work, develop the people.”
“We’re out to make the world better,” said keynoter John Shook, CEO of LEI, whose mission is to “make things better through lean thinking and practice.” He defined lean management as a way to “systematically develop people and continuously improve processes to provide value and prosperity while consuming the fewest possible resources.”
He offered leaders a practical model for guiding their lean transformations, based on answering five questions:
“If any of these dimensions are not addressed, the transformation will stumble eventually,” Shook said.
In plenary sessions, executives from a variety of businesses shared their experiences in leading lean transformations.
Lean Product and Process Development
The Summit introduced attendees to the ideas in the just-published Lean Product and Process Development, second edition, by Allen Ward and Durward Sobek, PhD. In a plenary presentation, “Lean Upstream Fastbreak,” Sobek and Jim Morgan, PhD, who used lean product development concepts while serving as a global engineering director at Ford Motor Company during its product-led revitalization, explained how lean differs from traditional development.
They said traditional development generates ideas, focuses on the one considered best, then begins a cycle of analysis and iteration. However, the selected idea may be fundamentally flawed. In contrast, lean product development uses “set-based concurrent engineering” to consider sets of alternatives to grasp the global landscape of possible solutions. “It’s an entirely different ways of thinking,” said Sobek.
Special Session with James Womack
Management expert Jim Womack, award-winning business book author and LEI founder, hosted a special “Lean Talks” session. The TED Talks-style breakout was open to selected Summit attendees who did 10-minute presentations (with minimal slides) on the conference theme. Womack is co-author of business book classics The Machine That Changed the World, Lean Thinking, and author most recently of Gemba Walks.
During a unique “Open Space” session attendees rapidly self-organized and collaborated on 12 topics that they proposed, including how to: begin strategy deployment, apply lean concepts to knowledge work, involve senior leaders, and run a daily huddle with staff. At the end of the session, each group reported what it had learned.
The 2015 Lean Transformation Summit will be held in March 4-5 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Lean Enterprise Institute
Lean Enterprise Institute Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Cambridge, MA, makes things better through lean research, education, publishing, and conferences. Founded in 1997 by management expert James P. Womack, PhD, it supports other lean initiatives such as the Lean Education Academic Network, the Lean Global Network, and the Healthcare Value Network. Visit LEI at http://www.lean.org for more information.