Those of you grew up with Sesame Street may recall that each episode was brought to you by a different letter of the alphabet. I experienced my own version of this phenomenon three years ago, when much of my job suddenly became all about the letter "S" - or more accurately five of them.
Once you have your lean journey underway, how do you sustain it? How do you build it into the bricks and mortar, and the DNA, of the organization? We no longer want lean to be its own thing; we want it integrated into the organization.
Significant effort and dollars are invested in lean initiatives each year in manufacturing plants across the United States. These investments can yield significant production and profitability gains if done properly.
Lean is one of the biggest management ideas of the past 50 years. No less than Ford's original assembly line, it has transformed how leading companies think about operations - starting in assembly plants and other factory settings and moving more recently into services ranging from retailing and health care to financial services, IT, and even the public sector. Yet despite lean's trajectory, broad influence, and level of general familiarity among senior executives, it would be a mistake to think that it has reached its full potential.