Relevant factors in the path of successful implementation of Lean
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In any business environment companies experience challenges and competition. In this current worldwide economic crisis, the stakes are now higher. With every crisis comes opportunity. The best companies with the best methods and processes that create highest quality product for less money will have an extraordinary advantage over their less efficient, lower quality competition. The term ‘Lean’ describes how Toyota does business: fewer humans, less effort, less investment, fewer defects, less time to develop, less inventory. For companies that have truly understood and implemented these principles the effects are significant; but many others have failed Lean initiatives. What factors are necessary for a company to successfully adopt the processes proven by over 50 years of success in Toyota? Using both primary and secondary research, I compared attributes of four companies, three of which were successful, and one that did not make the conversion. Three main factors emerged, the Technical Factor -- knowing both your core business and having a deep understanding of Lean principles, the Management Factor -- strong leadership operating within Lean principles and with hands-on approach, and the Human Factor -- approaching the workforce with respect and employee engagement in problem-solving process. The following is a brief review of these factors and the tools and concepts that undergird them.