No, I personally don’t need any respect, but lean manufacturing does. Respect for people that is. The other pillar of lean that it seems everyone has a habit of forgetting or even ignoring. Once you really start to learn about and experience that pillar you realize how real lean simply can’t function without it… and descriptions of lean that focus purely on the waste and value aspects seem empty.
For example, take this article on lean in the construction industry that appeared just today. We like reading about applications of lean to non-manufacturing organizations and industries, so such articles are usually exciting. But let’s take a closer look.
“Lean thinking is no more or less than eliminating waste from business processes and focusing on generating value,” he [Philip Kirby] told a workshop at the Ontario General Contractors Association’s 4th annual construction symposium.
The article goes on to describe "multi-pronged approaches" to eliminating waste, adding value, synchronizing activities, reconfiguring processes, and the like. There are even some odd comments like "Lean thinking combines the best elements of craft production with mass production."
But nothing about people. Nothing about respect for people. As our friend Mark Graban at the Lean Blog likes to say, this isn’t lean, it’s LAME… Lean as Misguidedly Executed.
Without respect for people, there can be no real lean.