Bad economic times should require more companies to incorporate lean principles into their supply chains to gain additional flexibility, said Gartner Research Vice President Dan Miklovic in an interview at the research and analysis firm's ITxpo event. "People will have to become agile and flexible in these uncertain economic times," he said. "That plays into lean."
As companies adopt lean precepts to remove waste from their manufacturing and logistics operations, they need to keep in mind that cost savings are a byproduct, not the main focus, of lean practices, said Miklovic, who has long studied the transformative effects of Lean Six Sigma programs. "People are getting that lean isn't just about cutting costs. It's about process improvements," he noted.
Miklovic cautioned that if companies aren't willing to embrace all the precepts of lean, they probably should not hop on the bandwagon. Companies can't pick and choose which lean principles to use; they have to adopt all of them to be successful. "You have to have a 100-percent commitment to lean," he said.