How to Maximize Lean Production in an Age of Digital Change

While manufacturing remains a critical economic sector, both domestically and globally,
during the last decades it has had its share of volatility. McKinsey spoke to this issue a few
years after the turn of the decade

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In recent years, ERP software companies have positioned their new versions as working
well to support lean initiatives. But many of these changes have been disingenuous, such
as taking push job orders and making them look like kanban cards. They are simply putting
lean names and screens on top of MRP concepts and pushing production – which leads
to build-up, longer cycle times, and higher inventory – antithetical to lean aspirations.

The foundation of lean is rooted in Japan after WWII. In order to pull the country out of
post-war devastation, Japan recognized the need to provide consistent employment to
citizens – but companies had extremely limited resources to do so. Lean was born out of
this initial idea that respect for people had to occur and that businesses had to maintain
people’s jobs even through downturns.

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