Womack Advocates Lean Consumption

"A combination of lean consumption, lean provision and lean production can solve problems for consumers, providers and manufacturers. It can help us stop wasting time, provide exactly what consumers want where and when they want it, advocates James Womack, president of Lean Enterprise Institute. He expressed his view on the next phase of lean during a keynote presentation at IndustryWeek's Smart Manufacturing 2005 conference that is being held in Bloomingdale, IL through Oct. 21.

Womack has praise for manufacturers explaining that products have gotten better with fewer defects, more features and lower cost/price due to the adoption of lean production. Companies have created better processes for design, production, logistics and supplier management.

"Even with those advances most manufacturers are not making a great deal of money and customers aren't happy," explains Womack citing the need for lean consumption. "Lean consumption involves solving customers' problems completely, not wasting their time, providing exactly what the customer wants, in a location they prefer and a timeframe they need. And finally it is helping customers reduce efforts to solve their own set of problems."

One example he gives is of Fujitsu Services ability to: reduce total costs to the manufacturers; reduce help-line turnover; reduce customer time and frustration by assigning more knowledgeable people to help lines and direct customers to engineers or other key personnel who are closer to the source of the customer's problem.

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