Great catch, Heath. And very insightful headline. (Lean on me is more than a cute wordplay. It’s at the heart of what works wonderfully and what’s still wrong with lean manufacturing.)
What Works. The worker in the article says management now listens to the workers far more intensely. Bottom-up ideas are vital to the success of any lean/just-in-time operation. Yesssssss!
What’s Still Broken. Lean infrastructures, tools, and support are still mostly designed around the company’s needs, not necessarily around the needs of the people doing the work. For our SimplerWork Index, we’ve studied six dimensions of how hard or easy companies make it for people to do more-better-faster every day (…the people version of being lean). The best of the six dimensions is only 48% Favorable, the worst is only 12% Favorable. Companies still have a lonnnnnngggggg way to go in working backwards from the needs of the people doing the work.
When companies really lean on their people to understand all that it takes to deliver more-better-faster, that’s when they’ll fully realize the lean ideals.