Friday, August 5, 2016

Lean Quote: Great Things are Done by a Series of Small Things Brought Together

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.

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.— Vincent Van Gogh

In the spirit of doing better, the smallest ideas are likely to be the easiest to adopt and implement. These improvements are sometimes called Point or Mini Kaizen. Making one small change is both rewarding to the person making the change and if communicated to others can lead to a widespread adoption of the improvement and the possibility that someone will improve on what has already been improved. There's no telling what might occur if this were the everyday habit of all team members. 

One of the most counter intuitive facts about small ideas is that they can actually provide a business with more sustainable competitive advantages than big ideas. The bigger the ideas, the more likely competitors will copy or counter them. If new ideas affect the company's products or services, they're directly visible and often widely advertised. And even if they involve behind-the-scenes improvements--say, to a major system or process--they're often copied just as quickly. That's because big, internal initiatives typically require outside sources, such as suppliers, contractors, and consultants, who sell their products and services to other companies, too. Small ideas, on the other hand, are much less likely to migrate to competitors--and even if they do, they're often too specific to be useful. Because most small ideas remain proprietary, large numbers of them can accumulate into a big, competitive advantage that is sustainable. That edge often means the difference between success and failure. 

In a Lean enterprise a strategy of making small, incremental improvements every day, rather than trying to find a monumental improvement once or twice a year equates to a colossal competitive advantage over time and competitors cannot copy these compounded small improvements. 

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1 comment:

  1. well, especially when you start walking the LEAN road there lots of small things which can be changed and all together this will create a first picture. Within the pilot-phase sure you will see savings as you start picking the lowest cherries first, but only the systematic approach will get you big bugs

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