Spreading the lean tonic:
The focus on the whole organization is increasing moving to the forefront of discussions. While there are still huge gains to be made using lean manufacturing, the success of many efforts is leading to expanding the scope beyond the more limited early efforts. To me this is a consistent pattern.
Experts (in TQM, Deming's idea's, Six Sigma, BPR, Lean...) always stress the importance of involving not just others (when talking to management) but your (managers) work too. But pretty consistently management adopts new management ideas much more for others than they do themselves. And over time the talk of going beyond "factory floor" improvements becomes more common.
Fast Cycle Change in Knowledge-Based Organizations by Ian Hau and Ford Calhoun, Jun 1997 is a good example of lean thinking, eliminating waste... outside the factory floor. This is also an example of the reports I mentioned in the comments on the Kaizen research post from the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Tags: lean thinking, process improvement, management