Strategos Lean Briefing

The Newsletter of Lean Manufacturing Strategy
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22 November 2004             

When Strategy Is Derelict

Thus, then, in Strategy everything is very simple, but not on that account very easy.

--Carl von Clauswitz    


The Great Nuclear Fizzle at Babcock & Wilcox


What Is Strategy?


Lean Manufacturing Strategy-- Development and Implementation


Related Seminars

Planning, Leading & Managing The Lean Journey



Implementation Series 

in printer-friendly PDF

In most companies, Manufacturing Strategy (or Operations Strategy) is not so much faulty; it is non-existent. The negative consequences are wide-ranging, severe and difficult to correct. Here are some examples:

  • Functional departments become Balkanized.

  • Marketing promotes unprofitable products.

  • Scheduling optimizes software at the expense of inventory.

  • Manufacturing Engineers buy disproportionately  large-scale equipment that increases material handling and inventory. 

  • Accounting focuses on direct labor when the real problem is overhead cost. 

  • Short-term operating decisions produce long-term negative consequences.

  • Manufacturing outsources inconvenient products while purchasing is unprepared to cope with the resulting inventory and quality issues. 

An excellent  manufacturing example is Wickham Skinner's classic case study, "The Great Nuclear Fizzle."

Is Lean Manufacturing not a Manufacturing Strategy? Well, the original development at Toyota was certainly strategy. As practiced by many firms today it is more of a prescription: strategy without the strategic thinking. Our series of articles on Lean Strategy explains how to forge the collection of lean techniques into an effective strategy, customized for your markets, products and processes. 

I hope these articles stimulate your thinking. They can lead to a more effective Lean implementation, improve profitability and help your organization succeed. 

All the best for the coming holiday season from the Strategos team.

Quarterman Lee

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Books & Videos

Guide to Cycle Counting

Warehouse Planning Guide

Human Side of Lean Video