Supply chain disruptions are not caused by Lean, and nobody cares

Published on 14 March 2020 by Isaak Tsalicoglou.

For years, some abuse "Lean" as in claiming to run a "lean supply chain", emphasizing JIT to reduce capital tied in inventory to the minimum.

In fair weather, many of those have gotten recognition and promotions, regardless of the risks of this mode.

Greek saying: "a storm is when you can discern a good captain."

Witness the Lean consultants and apologists now coming out of the woodwork to explain how this isn't what Lean is (correct), that it's not only about low inventories (correct), and that this is all a misunderstanding (correct) and that Lean is a "superior business model" (incorrect, by the modern definition by Alexander Osterwalder).

Correct, correct, and correct. However, dear Lean fans: that ship has sailed.

The term "Lean" has long been hijacked to build careers and firework-like sexy-sounding initiatives and fair-weather success stories, value be damned.

"Lean" has been "mcdonaldized" (great analogy-crafting by Eduardo Muniz).

You may (perhaps) understand TPS, flow, pull and respect of people and all that jazz.

Most others don't, and don't particularly care to understand, nor to digest your defense of terms they are using in the same way as "digital", "blockchain", or "Six Sigma".

That is, as flavor-of-the-month CV-boosting buzzwords and drivers of corporate muda.

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