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Does it seem like lean has been under attack recently? For example, in July an article in the Wall Street Journal outlined component shortages faced by Apple and Nissan Motor, and concluded that in part "the drawbacks of lean manufacturing methods" were to blame, augmented by an overstretched global supply chain. At the other end of the spectrum are the manufacturing companies and plants that extol the great productivity and other operational gains they have reaped through their implementations of lean manufacturing.
Why the diversity of opinions regarding lean? If you speak with lean experts, a possible answer rears its head. That answer is that people are confused -- both about what defines lean as well as how to implement lean. Get that confusion straightened out and the value of lean as a driver of operational excellence grows more apparent.
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