"Of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. Hard is what makes it great." — Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), A League of Their Own
Lean is not easy. It's not easy to understand. It's not easy to implement. And it's especially not easy to sustain. But anyone who has embarked on a so-called lean journey already knows this. Lean, in fact, is hard work and it's a challenge to keep it going.
Lean is a process. It's a culture. It's a system. And at its core, Lean seeks to optimize manufacturing processes and reduce or eliminate waste — everywhere in the value stream.
But Lean is not a quick fix and you cannot pick and choose the tools you use. The key to ongoing success is to embed Lean as a philosophy, and a requirement in everybody’s role; ensuring the right levels of line-management responsibility and accountability for gradually implementing the various tools and techniques that support it.
Implementing Lean, or any change initiative is difficult. If it wasn’t, everyone would be doing it, and they’re not. The answer is that the philosophy, tools and techniques are relatively simple, the hard bit is the culture, people, training, employee acceptance and ultimately perseverance and endurance as improvement does not happen overnight.