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The Virginia Engineer's Feature Articles

Terminal Uniqueness Limits Operations Getting "LEAN" Rebecca Morgan, Fulcrum ConsultingWorks Inc.

January, 2005

“We’re unique.” “That won’t work here.” “We’re different.”

While every company wants to feel ‘special’, many organizations focus so intently on their uniqueness that they forget that most of the challenges they face are the same as those faced by their neighbor down the street.

Rebecca A. Morgan, president of Fulcrum Consulting Works, Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio consultant and expert in Lean Manufacturing says, “If time is money in your business and errors are expensive, then the philosophy and techniques of Lean can likely improve your operations significantly and ultimately the bottom line of your business.”

Lean Manufacturing is a term used to describe fundamental attributes of the Toyota Production Systems (TPS).

“While TPS was developed in a manufacturing environment and by Toyota, other industries and organizations have seen its application and success,” Morgan says. “More companies can successfully apply Lean techniques. In my experience, Pareto’s 80/20 rule applies when looking across industries as well as within them. Eighty percent of a company’s business issues are basically the same as those faced by every other business; it’s critical that we learn from others. In the mid ‘80’s, I left Stouffer’s frozen food division and accepted a pos