Topics: Management Improvement and Economics
The Dallas Federal Reserve white paper, Supply Chain Management: The Science of Better, Faster, Cheaper [the broken link was removed] by Thomas F. Siems provides a macroeconmic view of what to be thankful due to the practice of lean thinking:
Lean Manufacturing Era. But in the 1970s, U.S. manufacturing’s superiority was challenged. Foreign firms in many industries made higher quality products at lower costs. Global competition forced U.S. manufacturers to concentrate on improving quality by reducing defects in their supply chains.
Starting in the early 1970s, Japanese manufacturers like Toyota changed the rules of production from mass to lean. Lean manufacturing focuses on flexibility and quality more than on efficiency and quantity. Significant lean manufacturing ideas include six-sigma quality control, just-in-time inventory and total quality management.
Ok, I don’t think most experts would call six-sigma a lean manufacturing idea (and I certainly don’t) but this is a member of the dismal science [the broken link was removed] singing macro-economic praises for the practice of lean thinking, so I think that point can be overlooked.