Lean Manufacturing for the Monkeys?

image from wikipedia

I had an amusing read this morning.  A young Seth Godin acolyte named Luke Rumley wrote an article titled “Lean vs. growth” on his blog last week, stepping on some thin ice regarding his views on Lean.

Almost immediately, Rumley inadvertently provoked the online lean gods, who sent down efficient thunder and waste-free lightning via response comments by Mark Graban of leanblog.org and Michel Baudin of michelbaudin.com.

Apparently, Godin has written previous, somewhat scathing posts on lean and the idea of “factory thinking,” and Rumley is a bit too eager to please his blogging guru by painting an entire manufacturing system by his rather limited, diluted lean office experience.

Rumley also includes a quote from Godin’s book “Linchpin” about a bunch of monkeys who learn to teach all newcomers to avoid doing something because of negative outcomes, then all the original monkeys are replaced with new ones who continue to teach the others not to do something, even though they didn’t experience the negative outcome personally.

Frankly, after making some rather disparaging remarks about manufacturing and lean, it’s not always the best idea to relate it to a story about monkeys.  Just seems like it is likening factory workers and manufacturing professionals to a bunch of monkeys.  It could be seen as elementary at best, and insulting at worst.

As a person who has personally seen lean work in so many different environments, including manufacturing, to healthcare, schools, libraries, in offices, and even homes, I can’t help but laugh at the electronic pummeling this Rumley received at the hands of the more experienced lean guys. Although he seems like a decent guy and certainly took it on the chin , sometimes you’ve got to have more experience before you shoot your mouth off in a very public forum like the internet.

To read Rumley’s article (especially the comments at the end), click here =>

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