Friday, February 24, 2012

Re-Thinking Lean Thinking

Professor Peter Hines has published an interesting white paper in which he advocates re-thinking the lean principles set forth by Womak and Jones in their book Lean Thinking in 1996.  Hines argues for a holistic approach - not a word that lends itself to precision or crispness of thought - and lists eight components of lean thinking he believes should be considered.

Classic lean theory has never fit well into the construction work flow process, something the Lean Construction Institute has done a lot to remedy, and Hines' white paper is worthy of review.  In a nutshell Hines argues the old lean concept of specifying value, identifying the value stream and ensuring value flows so that customers can pull vale on demand is too narrow. Hines argues for a list of eight lean principles: as purpose, process, people, pull, prevention, partnering, planet and perfection. 

Broadening the scope of lean beyond it's roots in manufacturing will benefit lean advocates and enterprises seeking to adopt it as tool.  Recognizing the role of people and the planet and the variables associated with human behavior and the environment are two things we in the construction industry know must be addressed.  Partnering across disciplines to impact supply chain and other off site issues is another big one.

Below is  a link to the Lean Business website where you can download a copy of the article if you register.

The principles of the lean business system

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