Interview with Jim Womack

Lean Solutions book cover image

Q&A With Jim Womack by Mark Graban:

The whole idea of lean solutions is to start with today’s customer in today’s circumstances and ask what the customer really wants. When we do this, the first thing to note is that manufactured goods have gotten vastly better, somewhat cheaper

James Womack also lists the six principles of Lean Solutions which seems to be boil down to one of the principles: “Get me exactly what I want” (though the way he describes this seems to be different than I read those words – “The proposition of retailers and other providers of goods from stock is that you can always find any of the items they have on offer”). That concept in then clarified by explaining what people want, such as: “don’t waste my time,” “Solve my problem completely,” give it to me when and where I want…

We believe that by looking at the process the consumer follows to solve problems, comparing this with the process the provider follows (along with the manufacturer), and then synchronizing and rationalizing all three processes, we can product a win-win-win for consumers, providers, and manufacturers. These win-win-wins are lean solutions.
But we have also noticed for years the growing gap between the factory, where things are getting better, and the situation of providers and consumers where it often appears that things are getting worse.

We strongly believe that our future standard of living in America, Europe and Japan largely depends on our ability to improve the consumption and provision processes.

I agree. It is frustrating to see the poor results in improving performance in service industries. One of the reasons manufacturing has been so beneficial to economies is that manufacturing productivity has been increasing dramatically.

Productivity increases provide economic gains that then can be distributed to the members of the economy. As other segments grow as a portion of the economy the manufacturing productivity gains do not carry the same weight as they did when manufacturing made up a larger percentage of the economy. Achieving such productivity gains in other parts of the economy is a key to economic success.

Articles by James Womack

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