I had the opportunity to present a few thoughts at the first Lean Accounting Summit in Dearborn, Michigan last week and it was an uplifting experience. Some of the real lean pioneers and crusaders were there, including Doc Hall, the man who created AME and Target magazine, which is one of the highest credibility manufacturing publications around. While the years have taken their toll physically, he was the same wise cracking, but very wise minded manufacturing wizard he has always been.
I had the honor of sharing a dais with Dr. Tom Johnson, the author of "Relevance Lost" and "Relevance Regained", the seminal works on manufacturing accounting. He is a genius by any measure, and manufacturing is very much the better for the twenty plus years he has devoted to it.
Of course Norm Bodeck was there. He and Dr. Johnson were the keynote speakers. After 62 trips to Japan and a long personal relationship with Dr. Shingo, the wisdom he has to share with the lean community is incredible. And, of course, he shared it all generously in Dearborn.
But most impressive were the 300 plus attendees, mostly finance and accounting professionals from companies on the lean journey. There would have been more, but the event was sold out in advance. I can’t help but to be optimistic about the future of American manufacturing in light of the enthusiastic interest on the part of the financial community.
It was wonderful to be in the presence of the old pros who had so much to do with creating the lean body of knowledge we all enjoy. It was equally wonderful to see such a large group of eager and capable younger professionals who will be more than up to the task of taking the handoff from Hall, Johnson and Bodeck and moving the cause even further in the coming years.
Next year’s summit is already in the works – planned for Disneyworld, as a matter of fact. If you only go to one lean event a year, you cannot do much better than this one. I wish you all could have experienced it.