Search This Blog

Subscribe to Let's Talk Business!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Leading the Race?

... and it's Lean leading by two and a half lengths coming into the turn...

I just came across this report that says that Lean is leading Six Sigma as the preferred corporate improvement system. Maybe it is. Without reading the full research analysis I can only comment on what is reported in the press. But I am a bit skeptical about the whole thing.

A couple of points jump to mind. The first is that the analysis is based on job ads that list Lean and/or Six Sigma expertise and experience. I'm not sure how valid that is as a measure of the popularity of the systems. Sure, it says something, but what exactly I'm not sure I'd speculate about.

Second, I don't see these two management systems as competing against each other. First, they are complimentary systems. They work well together, and you could argue that either one is an extension of the other. Second, commitment and implementation are more important than which one you choose. Actually, what's more important is which one is the most appropriate for your organization at any given point in time.

A point I often make is that instead of focusing on what the particular system you're looking at using is called, understand what you're trying to accomplish and what tools you can use to get there. Use parts and pieces of the various formal systems and make them work for you.

Of course, many times it is advantageous to implement a formal, named, system, such as Lean, Six Sigma, or Sales & Operations Planning because that allows people to get their hands and heads around it and keep them focused. Only you know what's best for you.

But you have to have enough knowledge to make the decisions. My book will help.

No comments: