In times of crisis, lean offers a stable approach to healthy work. Furthermore, as Jim Womack notes in this podcast with Tom Ehrenfeld, foundational lean practices such as just-in-time supply chains are not—and have never been—liabilities in a time such as today’s coronavirus outbreak. Misguided stories about the woes of JIT are as misguided today as they were when they appeared during avian flu, SARS, and other legitimate medical events that required large supplies of emergency goods. Womack also talks about the lessons to be found in Karen Gaudet’s book Steady Work as they relate to having a stable work environment that enables people to not think about the work—but to already have that mindfulness built in, so they can simply serve other humans in the moment, at a time of great need.
Listen to this conversation on the LEI podcast here.
Jim Womack’s 2006 essay Just In Time, Just In Case and Just Plain Wrong.
Jim Womack’s 2006 essay Fewer Heroes, More Farmers.
Karen Gaudet’s book Steady Work.