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Wednesday April 23rd 2014


Lean – Evolution

1.       Cottage

  • One person knows, organizes and does everything.
  • Narrow product range.
  • Low volume/small margin.

2.       Craft-based

  • Individuals or groups of specialists.
  • Specific high skill level.
  • Developed over many years – apprenticeship.
  • Custom-made to order, hand-fitted.
    • Simple & flexible.
    • Pride & quality.
    • Exclusive & expensive.
    • No efficiency of scale.

3.       Mass Production

  • Narrowly skilled professionals design a product.
  • Unskilled/semi-skilled workers make it using machines for specific purpose.
  • High volume of a standard product.
  • Don’t stop the production line.
  • Use more space/workers/inventory to avoid disruption.
  • A “push” system.
  • Unchanging design, inflexible process – Difficult & costly to change.
  • Acceptable Quality – fix it later.
  • Low cost product, but low variety.
  • Economy of scale, but work boring for most workers. Withhold knowledge & commitment.

4.       Lean

  • Combines low cost of mass production with the advantages of craft-based.
  • Multi skilled workers – Motivated & in control.
  • Flexible machinery.
  • High volume and variety.
  • Increasing quality and declining cost.


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