A Story of Sustaining Lean


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Robert B. Camp holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, and a master of business administration from Franklin Pierce University, Rindge, New Hampshire. Robert spent almost 20 years of his career working for Mobil and Lockheed Martin. Throughout his career, he has performed roles that have drawn heavily on his increasing body of Lean knowledge and experience. He is a board member of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and the author of Go and See: A Journey about Getting to Lean, and most recently Sustainable Lean: The Story of a Cultural Transformation. Sustainable Lean

In the podcast, Robert discusses a particular area that I thought brought out a very clear message. When you are talking culture and transformation, you cannot hire someone else to come in and do your work. An excerpt from the podcast:

Robert Camp: The problem is, they’re unsustainable, unless, leadership with the organization agrees that they’re going to change. I make a point of referencing that in my book, early in the book, the protagonist, Jim, who is a plant manager is talking to a consultant that he’s heard at a gathering, and he approaches him afterwards. Jim approaches the consultant afterwards and says: “I hired these external consultants to come in and we did great. They did better than they even promised me they would do. Then, I was pressured by corporate to cut off the contract, and in the two years since, things seemed to have drifted back to where they had been”. Frank, the external consultant, says to him: “What you did wrong was you entrusted the transformation to somebody else. Unless, you are willing to lead it, it’s not going to be sustainable”. I think, therein lies half of the answer that A is got to be led by the leaders of the organization. The second piece to that is by leading they literally get out front which means they need to understand Lean as well as anybody else and they actually have to drive the transformation. They can’t hire somebody to come in and do that for them.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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