Lean, cost cutting and my two laptops

An IT Consultant told me “Lean is about cost cutting and we do need some of the back ups that are mission critical. As such, IT people can’t use LEAN.”

A common misconception is that LEAN is about cost cutting. Cost savings is a result of LEAN processes. LEAN is not about cost cutting without a thought to the processes. LEAN doesn’t advocate cutting costs on essential processes.

LEAN is all about efficiency. LEAN achieves this via engagement of people and a clear process that they can apply to become efficient. As a result of an engaged workforce, a clear process of measurement and business communication, costs will reduce.

LEAN is therefore not about cost cutting until an organization is reduced to ‘skin and bones”. In fact, LEAN advocates adequate backups. In Failure Mode Effect Analysis, the team analyze the following factors:-

1. Severity of a potential breakdown. How bad is the effect of a potential breakdown.

2. Detection – how easy is it to detect a potential breakdown.

3. Frequency of occurrence – how often the breakdown has occurred in the past.

Based on the three factors above, the team will be able to identify mission critical equipment that needs backups. Conducting this analysis led me to keep two laptops. The severity ranked 10, detection 5 and frequency 1. Multiplying the 3 gave a score of 50. We do keep all important data backed up both on a hard drive and also on a cloud.

LEAN is about efficiency and LEAN has backups to ensure that efficiency isn’t affected. When my laptop crashed (although infrequent) without any warning, I was very grateful for the backup laptop and was able to continue work immediately. The concept of LEAN, while predominantly used in manufacturing is applicable to any industry, including IT.


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