Friday, October 11, 2013

Lean Quote: Survival Is Not Mandatory

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.— Dr. Edwards Deming

I always liked this quote from Dr. Deming. I thought it really highlighted the importance of change. 

The point is that you don’t have to change, but it is key to survival. Over time everything changes and you must be able to keep up with the changes and adapt or change also. If you don’t, things will pass you up and eventually you won’t survive. 

This rarely happens overnight. GM is a great example. For decades, they did not change a single thing about there management, accounting and manufacturing practices. Finally, after the turn of the century Toyota caught and overtook GM as the #1 car manufacturer. Profits are higher. 

Quality is higher. Even with the stumble by Toyota a few years ago with the quality issues, they maintained their profitability and continued to change. 

There comes a time where every company needs to change its practices in order to survive. In some cases, it may take years or decades to feel the pressure (GM) and in some cases it may take a few months (tech companies). 

Of course, you don’t have to change, because there is nothing to say you have to survive.

About the Author: Today's Lean Quote is brought to you by Matt Wrye, blogger at Beyond Lean. Matt has a been a good friend through my online Lean trials and tribulations. With Matt's 10+ years of lean implementation and problem solving experience, he is able to draw on his successes and failures to tackle new challenges by presenting fresh perspectives and results-driven solutions. His cornerstone belief is that all levels of the business unit should be educated on lean thinking and principles. To this point, Matt diligently challenges his own lean knowledge while working with all business levels ranging from human resources, accounting and the manufacturing floor to senior managers, executives and presidents. By adhering to this continuous learning philosophy, Matt is able to focus his lean efforts to provide continuous improvement. 

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