Consultants mis-selling ‘Lean’ business model, says expert

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Consultants mis-selling ‘Lean’ business model, says expert

Press release: Consultants mis-selling ‘Lean’ business model, says expert

International expert on Lean Service Principles, Stephen Parry, has hit out at what he sees as mis-selling of the Lean business model to an unsuspecting business community.

At a joint seminar run for post-graduate business students by the Imperial College Business School and the Chartered Management Institute, Stephen called for an end to Lean misrepresentation and took the opportunity to present the Lean message to his audience in its true form.

Stephen, who is CEO of business transformation company See Business Differently and visiting fellow at the Lean Enterprise Academy UK, said, “My intention was to challenge the perception of Lean in the marketplace and educate our future business leaders in the true application of Lean.

“There are consultants selling Lean as simply a method of improving processes or achieving returns with the lowest possible resources, but this has never been the case.  Lean is nothing less than complete business transformation; like choosing a lifestyle choice for good health, rather than having a spot of liposuction.”

Lean was first presented 80 years ago as a model which changes the way businesses are designed and built in order to create real value for the customer while minimising costs and maximising profits.  But Stephen believes the idea was way ahead of its time and is the perfect model for 21st century businesses striving to respond to globalisation and the demand for individualisation.

“Consumers want a service which responds to their actual, rather than perceived needs.  Employees want to be able to respond appropriately to these needs by being a part of the day to day problem solving and decision making process,” said Stephen.   “Lean is the 21st century alternative to the old, machine-like model of standardisation that unfortunately most of us are used to.”

Stephen says he has heard from many companies who have implemented what they believed to be a Lean business model, only to discover they have either just “brushed the surface” or implemented something entirely different.  As a result, they have not accomplished what they set out to achieve.  He therefore grabbed at the opportunity to speak to business school students.

“Educating this generation ensures the real Lean message survives,” said Stephen.


Notes to Editors

For further information, please contact: Michelle Drapeau, PR Executive, on +44 (0) 1525 237599 OR Stephen Parry direct on +44 (0) 7838 114997

Facts about Stephen Parry

  • He is author of the book, “Sense and Respond: the journey to customer purpose”, which presents an approach to business based on Lean Service Principles.
  • Stephen Parry is a leading expert in the fields of Lean organisational design and transformation and Lean leadership.
  • Clients include SAP, BT, Local Government, police authorities, financial services, IT Services, Shared Services, Outsourcing, Consultancies, TNT.
  • Stephen speaks regularly at international events and respected business schools such as Cranfield School of Management, the Fisher Business School at Ohio State University.  He is a Faculty Member of the USA Lean Enterprise Institute, visiting Fellow at the Professor Dan Jones Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK and a regular judge at the national business awards.
  • He has been interviewed on BBC Radio 4 and featured in documentaries on BBC1 and Channel 4.

3 thoughts on “Consultants mis-selling ‘Lean’ business model, says expert

  1. When I look at what is out there in terms of the “Lean world”, it can be very overwhelming for someone who’s knowledge about Lean is limited or misinformed. It is not their fault. There are so many LINO (Lean in Name Only) consultants who prey on satisfying the desperation of companies who need to do something and are motivated to find silver bullets and quick fixes.

    There seems to be many more LINOmen then those who know and understand what is really behind Lean.

    Stephen Parry represents the intendent spirit of Lean’s design and works tirelessly to educate people about what is Lean and what is LINO. He is geniunly concerned about uncovering and enabling critical thinking in people to find and remove the barriers within a system in order to release the human potential in everyone within the entire system.

    As our Lean Leaders who have spent much of their lifetime bringing the world of Lean to the younger generation, it is our responsibility as the younger generation of future Lean leaders to continue to educate the true nature of Lean, as well as find ways to release its potential.

  2. You have struck the proverbial nail on the head!

    Very few know of what they speak when the subject of lean is broached.

    Kathy suggested the silver bullet search, ah yes! Not to mention flavour of the month.

    The killer is lean is only one of ten practices based upon three principles serving one philosophy. To succeed in implementation requires serious levels of long term commitment. Long term is defined as decades, not successive quarters. Aside from this is the overwhelming fear such a mammoth change provides. The fight or flight impulse routinely chooses flight as the response. The brain seems to be hard wired for this to occur.

    Little wonder few choose to understand and fewer choose to really embrace the concept.

    “We are implementing lean down at the plant, ho, ho, ho.. good luck with that.” I am certain you have heard this before. The project is doomed before it starts. Sure, perhaps a kaizen blitz will be successful or a 5S sweep with some visual systems on the side, a waste reduction program, etc… then time goes by and before you know it, you are back where you started.

    When successful, the benefits of this approach are enormous. It is a journey that has no end. It requires courage, challenge and creativity. If you never start you will never know.

    I invite you to follow or on Twitter @LeanThoughts

  3. It seems in recent weeks there are articles surfacing around the LINO topic. I was wondering if something has recently changed. The most recent one I saw yesterday was the article from Stephen Spear,

    While there is some good stuff being posted, for me what is missing is how businesses can educate and prevent themselves from falling into these traps to begin with. The goal being articles of why transformations and/or why Lean fails become fewer and far between.

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