From lean to lasting: Making operational improvements stick

Toyota's pioneering innovations in production and organization are often the example companies aiming for leaner operations try to follow. But, say McKinsey researchers, many of the would-be emulators forgo up to half of the savings by skipping the "soft" side of Toyota's lean program -- leadership development, aligning the boardroom and the shop floor, and skill-building. "Mastering lean's softer side is difficult because it forces all employees to commit themselves to new ways of thinking and working," the researchers say.

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