Continuous Improvement = Change

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Over at Evolving Exellence, Bill Waddell has a post titled "Hopelessly Lost, But Making Good Time" about companies that adhere to precise accounting schedules and budgets, even at the expense of the business. (You can also visit Bill at his own Web site.)

Evolving Excellence is the Lean Blog, from Superfactory

Evolving Excellence is the Lean Blog, from Superfactory

It's an excellent observation of how companies will follow "tried and true(?)" principles even when they may not work very well. For example, a company may put off a critical investment in October until the budget resets in January. Such decisions around products may seem sensible, but as Bill says:

"The cost of your manufactured products was about 90% determined when it leaves the design stage long ago - purchasing and production execution merely tweak it up or down a tad."

Manufacturers claiming to embrace Lean while maintaining wasteful processes has become such a cliche with our brethren in the Lean ranks that it's almost embarrassing to write it myself. The unwillingness to turn away from "how it's always been done" usually sinks the initiatives intended to move the company away from them.

While Bill's post focuses on Lean Accounting, I think it makes a compelling case for all manufacturers that are contemplating change to ANY element of their business.

Whether it's marketing, maintaing a Web site to attract new business, moving into new markets or industries, or developing new products or processes, change stands the best chance of success when it's adopted sensibly.

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