Thursday, February 25, 2010

we need stories from more lean companies

From what I understand of the mass recalls from Toyota, the company lost its culture of quality first. Apparently some managers chose to prioritize growing the company, which caused a conflict of interest any time a problem was discovered--and managers didn't invest the resources to dig to the root cause of the problem. I think this story doesn't kill the credibility of the Toyota Production System, but I do think that it shows that even a 50-year-old culture can be compromised if a company tries to grow too fast. I think that Toyota still proves that average people can have a collective intelligence greater than their own individual strengths, but that this is very fragile.
So much of the lean literature and discussion is about Toyota that this has been rough news... we need to hear more stories about Dell, Zara, Amazon, and other lean companies. Where do you get this kind of news?

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