I’ve been immersed in the lean world for over a quarter century. From the start when some folks from the Association for Manufacturing Excellence showed me how quick changeover could save my injection molding operation (and probably my job) from imminent destruction, to now when I can share my own knowledge and experience through a company focused on helping others on their lean journeys. It’s been challenging, fun, and rewarding.
I’ve been lucky to get to know many people along the way, including some who were responsible for bringing lean and the Toyota Production System [back?] to the U.S. and many who have fought the battles to transform their organizations with a way of thinking that often flies in the face of traditional management practice. There were several others who have spent their career analyzing, thinking, and writing about lean. Conveyors, doers, experimenters, thinkers, and investigators – all have been critical to the movement.
As I approach retirement, whatever that may be, along with and even behind many of the folks I mentioned above, I’ve started to realize something: old lean dudes (and dudettes) appear to take two completely divergent paths.
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