In this week's edition of 5 Questions we meet Mark Rosenthal.
1. Who are you, what organization are you with, and what are your current lean-oriented activities?
Mark Rosenthal, working in the corporate "Terex Business System" office of Terex Corporation. (http://terex.com NYSE:TEX)
Our little group works mainly to try to set the overall direction through training materials, etc. and put it into practice with focused engagements at various sites that are implementing.
2. How, when, and why did you get introduced to lean and what fueled and fuels the passion?
Formally, I got introduced to it while working for ten years at Boeing. Informally, I realize that I applied a lot of the basics just trying to get things organized and operating in various assignments as a military officer prior to that.
What fuels the passion is the opportunity and potential it brings to an organization, and the occasional opportunity to be an active part of helping a true "performing" team come together.
3. In your opinion what is the most powerful aspect of lean?
Intellectually engaging everyone in a meaningful way, every day.
4. In your opinion what is the most misunderstood or unrecognized aspect of lean?
That "being lean" is the rote implementation of a set of techniques.
That "lean focuses on waste" and _________ addresses ________ as though Toyota somehow leaves something out of the way they manage their company. I especially smile when people say that quality is somehow something outside of "lean" or that "reducing variation" is the domain of x-Sigma, or that "lean" is somehow unconcerned with "constraints."
5. In your opinion what is the biggest opportunity for lean in today's world? How can that be accomplished?
Anywhere people are trying to get something done.
On a more manageable scope, Health Care is disintegrating under the weight of a system that was never designed to deal with the levels of complexity that the care providers must routinely manage. Credible statistics suggest that, in the USA alone, something around 98,000 people a year are KILLED by the health care systems efforts to treat them. Put another way, if getting to your hospital required traversing insurgent-held territory in Iraq, the trip is safer than your stay.
How can it be accomplished?
First we need to really understand what it is about, and stop thinking so much about "waste" and "value stream maps" as rote exercises and get back to the core of what good process thinking is all about.