Geko Operative

Perfection is not about always succeeding; it is about being aware of your failures and successes, weaknesses and strengths and about you neutralising the former and growing the latter

By

"The Lean Manager" by F. & M. Balle (LEI)

I learnt about lean in my third year of university. I really enoyed it as it seemed so simple to comprehend and so beautiful in its central concepts - provide customer better quality at better value and continue to do so until perfection is reached. Lean came across as something of a nirvana that one pertains to though almost impossible to achieve. I like that in a challenge for some reason.

There are a 1,001 lean blogs out there, some good, some bad, some interesting and some unnoticeable. When I have time I check out J.Shook's column on the lean.org (a very good source of lean resources) or just peruse the articles that they send with the newsletter. One such news clip was of a book's release. The book, The Lean Manager (why some people abbreviate it to LTM I have no idea - its a book!) by Balle F & M. There is the foreword and the first two chapters available to download (go to the download tab) which I strongly recommend. It's a book about lean but in a novel format which turns out to work very well as the narrative draws you in.

I'm no lean expert (the furthest I've got so far was to set up a just in time system for ironing my shirts - every morning 15 minutes before I'm out the door) but I did pick up on this contradiction in the text.

On one hand,
"...managing production sites through stable teams of multiskilled workers." pp107

Yet on the other,
Andy: "Next you're going to tell me that the operators should always be at the same station, working on the same parts to gain as much familiarity as they can on the parts."
Amy: "And how is that surprising?" pp92

How can you have a multiskilled workforce if they are at the same machine the whole day doing the same part? Multiskilled suggests the ability to use many machines with competence. How can it be spun any other way? Does lean support multiskilled workers or workers that expertly do the same thing day-in day-out. Of course you would want both but then you can't look at your cake and eat it at the same time either. This has thrown me.

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