Tag Archives: Taguchi

The Evolution of Lean: A Timeline

It is exceedingly frustrating to realize what a putz you are . . . at least it is for me. I struggle with how and what to blog, and yet miss some of the more obvious things I can post about. For instance, Dan Keldsen posts a link in Facebook to an article conveying a timeline of the history of Lean Manufacturing. This line, however, is entirely textual and Dan writes – parenthetically – “(need a graphic of this… hmm)”. Reading this I was reminded of a graphic I put together several years ago at the request of one of the Manufacturing Engineers at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, William “Bill” Garrison. I was able to find it in short order (kudos to my PKM, IMO) and sent it to Dan. I then posted it in FB and, within a very short time received a comment from another friend, Robert Lavigne. I had also had an email conversation with Dan and he mentioned a product that produced graphical timelines, BEEDOCS.

The Evolution of Lean

The Evolution of Lean: A Timeline

Click on Graphic for Larger Version

At any rate I’ve now spent a fair amount of time thinking about the history of lean and the purpose and efficacy of graphical timelines; something I actually have contemplated quite a bit over time. I’ve also checked out the software’s website and, after another comment or two between Rob and I, he suggests the subjects are “still worthy of a blog entry and a link to your insights about the new product”. I find myself thinking he’s right so here we go. I hope this is what he had in mind. I’ll consider it an “aha” moment if I’m right.

So, here’s the real post. The article Dan linked to (see my link to it, above) is a bit more detailed and the earliest event evidencing lean in the timeline is fully 440 years ago, which causes Dan to lament over the seeming inability of many to just continue using the stuff that’s worked for centuries, eh wot? I can only nod in stupefied agreement. What appears above, in the form of a graphic representation, is an overview of the history of lean manufacturing. It’s heavy on the Toyota Production System (TPS), but there’s actually a lot of non-Toyota information in it as well. We didn’t want it to be too busy.

Now, as far as the software goes, I am surely in no hurry to purchase it at this point, but it does look like it provides some useful and interesting functionality. They point out the concept grew from Attorneys asking for timelines for use in trials and now is used by “Film makers, museum curators, professors, novelists, grad students and business leaders”. The timelines look beautiful and varied and the concept of using 3D (I don’t think real 3D, but film & television-like) makes the timelines visually appealing. It’s only $65 for Mac OS X Leopard and, for many, seems a small price to pay if you’re in the market for really good timelines.

That’s my story and, well, you know the rest. Thanks to Rob for prodding me. Thanks to you, whoever you are, for reading this far :)

UPDATE: I neglected to point out there’s a bit more to this timeline than mere events. It also points to the correlation between time, reduction in cost, and reduction of Cycle Time. Probably pretty obvious, but felt compelled to point it out just so you don’t think I’m stupid. It’s bad enough I think it.


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