Lean will fail? – 5 Reasons

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Lean will fail? – 5 Reasons

“Lean is all about constant ticking, not occasional kicking”-by Alex Miller.

Before you know why “Lean” will fail in the upcoming year, let’s take a look at what the term “Lean” emphasizes. In simple terms, “Lean” can be interpreted as a set of tools and strategies that help you identify and then eliminate the identified waste from the operations process.

It also promotes your focus towards generating more customer value. The priority of  this is to introduce the process of changes that are being made in an organization. The mostly made changes are done to maximize the significance created for the consumers.

Nowadays, most business organizations are using “Lean” transformation as a development methodology. A recent survey held by IW/MPI showed that among the 100% companies, only 2% of companies were able to entirely and positively achieve their organizational goal. 24% of companies reported the achievement of a few considerable results. That leaves us with 74% of companies left, who were reported with no such good improvement after using it in their respective organizations. Such companies who begin a “Lean” journey, appear to only fiddle with the tools available for “Lean” only when they are convenient, and till that time the efforts fade out. 

However, for more than a decade, the use of “Lean” has always been mainstream for many organizations. A vast number of companies that try their organizations to be “Lean” often fail. Mostly, the manufacturing companies think that the use of Lean” manufacturing will work as a tool that will guide them, ultimately resulting in profits. But, “Lean” is much more than just a tool and its successful implementation requires a detailed study of how each principle in this theory works to help improve the organization. There have been thousands of people till now who were trained and understood with the “Lean” principles. In most organizations, it is specially used in manufacturing units. Here, let’s take an additional look at the reasons why “Lean” may fail in the upcoming year, especially for the manufacturing units.

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  1. Lack of Awareness- The organizations often make the mistake of directly utilizing the lean techniques without knowing the much-needed requirements of the organization. This indicates that nations lack awareness about lean principles as well as organizations’ needs. It is always essential for an organization to properly assess the problem arising and then take corrective lean measures to solve them. It would become impossible to truly understanding how lean will benefit your company if you don’t conduct a proper assessment of your business’s current and production needs. Moreover, the quick and analyzed assessment would also help you to know whether your organization is ready or not for starting with the lean principles. If the lack of awareness regarding the lean principles continues in the companies, then its implementation will not succeed.
  1. Company Culture- If any organization wants to be successful by implementing the lean principles, then it must ensure that the entire company is on the same wavelength. With the absence of sharp motives that navigate the company’s culture, the implementation of any lean principle is bound to fail. For the successful implementation of lean, building a strong base for the foundation is a crucial step. However, lean is more of management philosophy. Mostly the higher-level management doesn’t perform sufficiently to ensure that production procedures are being changed according to lean principles or not. So, the organizations fail to be lean if the culture of the company is not changed according to the prerequisites of the lean principle.
  1. Focus on Short-Term Goals- Usually, it has been observed that the manufacturers implement lean principles to fix large-scale problems in a short period. This particular approach of lean almost fails every time because the required efforts and time are not given to provide a remedy to the initial root of the problem. Without being aware, the organization often tends to the adoption of lean principles that seem most convenient at that time. This results in gaining short term win that won’t help the company for a long period. Moreover, proper implementation of lean demands time and commitment, which if not given, then the organization will fail to succeed in its desired goal.

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  1. Presence of an Unstable Flow Process- Preferably speaking, the manufacturing units should be able to operate the process flow stably. But unfortunately, many manufacturing units don’t do so. If the process flow is not stable in a manufacturing unit, then it will have to focus on too many variables for making the lean principles effective enough. The lean principles rely on a strong foundation, focus as well as predictability. Thus, if a manufacturing unit lacks in any of these required components then the usage of lean principles will not produce the desired results.
  1. Regular Changes- If you wish your organization to be successful while implementing lean principles, then you must know that for it to be possible, constant changes are required. Lean principle’s implementation demands pervasive change throughout the organizations along with constant reinforcement of the behavioral adjustments. Implementation of lean principles is not a quick process as it requires time and effort of the organization. Moreover, immediate and noticeable changes are to be made constantly, which becomes a difficult thing for the organization to keep up with. Consequently, if your organization is not able to adopt pervasive changes, then you cannot be successful in implementing the lean principles.


Overall, hereby it can be concluded that although the lean principles are considered as a successful method to keep the organization going, if not implemented properly, they would not benefit your organization. If you want your organization to succeed in lean, then make sure you don’t repeat the mistakes that will lead to the failure of lean.

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