Two differing approaches to management improvement you may think?

Not so.

Both require extensive:

* Collaboration,

* Transparency,

* Robust processes,

* A set of values imbued through an individual organisation, and group of  organisations in a demand chain, 

* Respect for the capability of operator level employees to make contributions to improvement, innovation, and a,

* Safe, sustainable and productive workplace.

So how can they be so misunderstood by so many supposedly informed and perceptive commentators?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article that stated in part “Companies like Apple and Nissan are seeing the drawbacks of lean manufacturing methods, which call for carrying little inventory but make supply snags tougher to offset”.

This statement, a highlight of the article, demonstrates profound lack of understanding of lean manufacturing and the role that customer demand plays in creating a “demand chain” that works to satisfy that demand by removing waste of all types, something most sensible customers would baulk at paying for if they knew, and had the choice. 

The businesses cited, several to my surprise, have clearly not absorbed the huge difference between responding to a forecast, and gearing their operations to respond to the drivers of demand with continuously improving capability, innovative solutions to problems, and a vision that engages for the long term, rather than focussing on the latest  periods financials.